(NEW YORK) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday continued his tour of damage caused by Hurricane Ida, traveling to New York and New Jersey to see first-hand the devastation the massive storm inflicted on the Northeast.
The president will reprise his role as consoler in chief, meeting with local leaders to get a briefing on the damage to the area, and touring a neighborhood in Manville, New Jersey, before heading to Queens in New York to tour the damage there, and deliver remarks.
Speaking in New Jersey, Biden made the case for his $1 trillion infrastructure bill that recently passed the Senate with bipartisan support, in addition to a $3.5 trillion social spending bill that comprises his ‘build back better’ agenda — arguing that the extreme weather events affecting the country highlight the need for major investments.
Biden also issued a stern warning about the need to address climate change.
“This is an opportunity. I think the country’s finally acknowledged the fact that global warming is real, and it’s moving at an incredible pace. And we’ve got to do something about it,” Biden said during a briefing with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and other elected officials from the states.
“I think we’re at one of those inflection points where we either act, or we’re gonna be — we’re gonna be in real, real trouble. Our kids are gonna be in real trouble,” Biden said of climate change.
Tuesday’s trip follows the president’s trip to Louisiana’s gulf coast Friday where Hurricane Ida made landfall, where he made similar arguments for his policy proposals currently working their way through Congress.
“Things are changing so drastically in terms of the environment,” the president said Friday. “We’ve already crossed certain thresholds. We can’t build back a road, a highway, a bridge or anything to what it was before. I mean, you got to build back to what it is now, what’s needed now.”
The White House has continued to highlight the federal response to the devastating storm that has claimed the lives of at least 68 people across 8 states. Over the weekend, President Biden approved emergency declarations for New York and New Jersey to provide federal aid to the recovery efforts in impacted areas.
“This was a historic storm, deadly. Tragically the loss of 27 lives, four still missing, small businesses, and roadways, and in some cases schools. First responders were extraordinarily heroic, but there is a significant loss associated with this storm. We’ll do all that we can in the state, but we need the federal government in a big way,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in an interview with CBS News on Sunday.
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