President Joe Biden flew Tuesday to storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey, just days after inspecting the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana — a trail of destruction the Democrat blames on climate change.
Biden — who is pushing a giant infrastructure spending bill, including major funding for the green economy — argues that extreme weather across the United States this summer is a harbinger of worse to come.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One that Biden believes the latest devastation shows “the average costs of extreme weather are getting bigger and no one is immune from climate change.”
Ida struck the US Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing major flooding and knocking out power to large parts of the heavily populated region, which is also a main hub for the oil industry.
The departing remnants of the hurricane then caught authorities in the New York region by surprise, with ferocious rainfall triggering flash flooding.
The final blast of the storm killed at least 47 people in the US Northeast as it turned streets into raging rivers, inundated basements and shut down the New York subway.
And while one part of the country buckles under hurricane fallout, California and other parts of the west are struggling to combat ever fiercer wildfires.
Biden was to tour Manville, New Jersey and the New York borough of Queens before making remarks at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT).
With his presidency straining from the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout and surging Covid infections at home, Biden faces a difficult coming few weeks, including a struggle to get his infrastructure plans through the narrowly divided Congress.
The White House hopes that the dramatic impact from Hurricane Ida in two different parts of the country will galvanize action on the spending bills.
“It’s so imperative that we act on addressing the climate crisis and investing… through his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, which is working its way through Congress,” Psaki said.
Biden is due to “highlight how one in three Americans live in counties that have been impacted by severe weather events in recent months,” she said.
“Just over the summer, 100 million Americans have been impacted by extreme weather — obviously in the northeast, out west with wildfires, and then in the Gulf Coast.”