- The Washington Times
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

President Biden on Tuesday used a trip to survey the destruction across New York and New Jersey from the remnants of Hurricane Ida to push his climate agenda.

He said the fierce storm underscored the need for Congress to pass his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

“We’ve got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts,” Mr. Biden said of climate change after touring the damage in Queens, New York. “They all tell us this is code red, the nation, and the world are in peril. That’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.”

Mr. Biden met with local officials in Queens and earlier in the day toured flood damage in Manville, New Jersey. During his time in New Jersey, he met with Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, and members of the Somerset County Emergency Training Center.

The trip was his second in less than a week to visit an area damaged by the Category 4 hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast and then sent intense thunderstorms and tornadoes into the Northeast.

Mr. Biden visited New Orleans on Friday.

New York and New Jersey were among the hard hit by the resulting storms, which killed more than 50 people, caused major floods and spawned several tornadoes.

The storm drowned people in their cars, while others were killed by rising water in basement apartments.

The president on Monday signed disaster declarations that free up federal funding for six New Jersey counties — Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic, and Somerset — and five in New York, namely Bronx, Kings, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester.

White House officials on Tuesday urged Congress to approve at least $10 billion in funding to address the damage. That money would be on top of the $14 billion the administration is seeking in disaster aid for hurricanes that occurred before Ida.

Mr. Biden said the extreme weather underscores the need to address climate change across the country.

“We’re living through it now. We don’t have any more time,” Mr. Biden said of the effects of climate change. “Every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather. We can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse.”

The president also used the opportunity to pitch his $3.5 trillion budget plan, which sparked debate among lawmakers about the plan’s price tag.

Mr. Biden said the bill is necessary to prevent future disasters from causing more devastation.

“I’m hoping to be able to see the things we are going to be able to fix permanently with the bill that we have in for infrastructure,” Mr. Biden told reporters as he left the White House.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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