Biden surveys Hurricane Ida damage in Louisiana

President Biden continued to pledge the federal government’s commitment to the victims of Hurricane Idea in Louisiana Friday, as communities across the state deal with the aftermath of the massive storm. 

So far, the federal government has provided $100 million directly to victims so they can pay for shelter and other immediate needs, Mr. Biden said. The president is also urging insurance companies to pay up, as residents apply for aid. 

“My message today is, I think what we’re all seeing that, I’m getting the same response from my Republican friends, Republican friends here that are in the Congress: There’s nothing political about this,” the president said Friday. “It’s just simply about saving lives and getting people back up and running. We’re in this together, and so we’re not going to leave any community behind. Rural, city, coastal, inland. I promise we’re going to have your backs until this thing gets done. And so, I’m mainly here to listen, to see what’s on your mind.”

The president received a briefing from local officials on Ida’s impact and delivered remarks in LaPlace, Louisiana, before taking an aerial tour of several of the hardest hit communities. 

“Folks, I know you’re hurting. I know you’re hurting,” the president said, noting the ongoing recovery of Lake Charles from previous storms. “… I want you to know, we’re going to be here for you.” 

The president said his “Build Back Better” agenda and additional infrastructure spending will help build a more resilient country in the face of future natural disasters, as the climate changes. The Senate has passed a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, but the House has not yet. 

Power Restoration Begins In New Orleans After Ida Wrecked Grid
Residents move furniture in a flood damaged house after Hurricane Ida in Laplace, Louisiana, on September 2, 2021.  Bloomberg

The Category 4 hurricane tore through Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday, and many residents are still without power. As many are still without power and air conditioning, residents along the Gulf Coast have been experiencing sweltering heat.

Even as Ida lost strength, it caused tornadoes in the mid-Atlantic, and created historic and deadly flooding in New York. 

The president approved disaster declarations in Louisiana and Mississippi, providing assistance to residents for temporary housing and home repairs, among other things.