Governor Greg Abbott requested statewide designation for major disaster relief from President Biden. Biden denied the statewide designation and only approved some counties in Texas, not all of them. Abbott asked for a declaration that covered the entire state because the winter storm knocked out power and heat throughout the state, as well as leaving millions of Texans without water.
Texas has 254 counties. Biden approved only 77 counties for disaster relief. The governor calls it an important first step but it falls far short of what Texas officials requested. Biden signed the declaration late Friday. It covers much of the Texas population. The counties covered include the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans.
No real reason was given for the snub from the White House or from FEMA. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned that Biden wants to focus on the hardest hit areas. Now state officials will have to gather data from the counties that were left out.
The White House has left open the possibility of further designations, and state officials said Saturday they will gather data from the counties omitted from the initial declaration to support the state’s request.
“The governor requested a federal disaster declaration, the president asked his team to expedite that and FEMA determined where the counties should be, where it should focus the immediate resources, where the counties that are hardest hit, so that they can make sure they get the people in most need,” Psaki said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Governor Abbott expressed gratitude for what was given.
“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” Abbott said in a statement Saturday. “Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”
Additional designations “may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments,” the White House said. Texas Division Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd wants all 254 counties to document damages. County by county, dollar by dollar, Kidd is confident that all counties in Texas will meet the government’s threshold.
— Texas Division of Emergency Management (@TDEM) February 20, 2021
The congresswoman who represents my district (a Democrat) joined with 13 other Democrats in Congress to urge FEMA to approve a statewide request. Senators Cornyn and Cruz also wrote a letter in support of federal aid.
“This is an important first step to getting the resources necessary to help our state recover and rebuild,” said Rep. Lizzie Fletcher of Houston, one of 13 Texas Democrats in Congress who jointly urged FEMA to approve the state’s request.
“Although we expect the extreme winter temperatures to wane, the long-term damage to our homes, businesses, municipal services and infrastructure, energy infrastructure, and agricultural and food systems cannot be overstated. Much of this damage will be exacerbated by a simultaneous economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has already challenged local industries and governments,” they wrote Thursday.
Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz wrote Biden on Friday urging approval of the governor’s request for aid “for all 254 Texas counties as a result of severe winter weather that began on February 11, 2021. We urge you to grant this request to secure the health and safety of all Texans affected by this disaster.”
What happened to Biden’s pledge to get Texans whatever we need? He posted a photo op of himself as he allegedly spoke to Governor Abbott as the storm was hitting the state.
Tonight, I called Governor Greg Abbott to discuss the ongoing situation in Texas and identify ways we can support the state’s recovery from this storm. I made clear to the Governor that I’ll work relentlessly to get his state what they need. pic.twitter.com/UBwH8DMep2
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 19, 2021
If the idea is to project some newly found desire to be fiscally responsible with federal dollars and only serve the large areas of the state (mostly Democrat areas), that would be ironic, given Biden is working hard to ram through a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that is loaded up with all kinds of goodies that have nothing to do with the pandemic and everything to do with Democrat pork.
Biden hasn’t bothered to visit Texas. He claims he’ll come, maybe this week, but doesn’t want to be in the way. That’s rich, especially since every Republican president is held to an entirely different standard. Say what you will about Trump but he became very good about traveling to disaster areas and also holding meetings with FEMA and other relief agencies, as well as comforting people on the ground.
The leftists in power are taking the opportunity to virtue signal Texans for not succumbing to the extreme measures presented in the Green New Deal. For example, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer thinks because conservatives don’t think the Green New Deal is the way to go, then “climate change deniers” deserve the worst. I may have responded in like fashion.
Eff off. https://t.co/xsXkx1rgmL
— Karen Townsend (@penguinponders) February 22, 2021
“The bottom line is, Texas thought it could go it alone and built a system that ignored climate change,” Schumer said during a Lower East Side press conference, referring to the state’s decision to stay off the country’s national power grid.
“It was not what’s called resilient, and now Texas is paying the price,” Schumer said.
“I hope they learned a lesson,” he added.
I hope they learned a lesson? What a garbage human being. Imagine thinking it was the appropriate time to wish political opponents hardship and suffering to score points with the far left. Democrats live in Texas, too, Senator Schumer. They are experiencing the same hardships from the storm system as other Texans. Good heavens. Trust me, no one in Texas is in the mood for a lecture from the likes of Chuck Schumer. Texans are always the first to offer help and compassion to those in need after disasters in other states. Millions of Texans are still suffering today, many still without water. Houston only yesterday lifted its boil water advisory.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this, 31 additional counties have been added to the declaration.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that 31 additional Texas counties have been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be added to President Joe Biden’s major disaster declaration, bringing the number of counties where Texans are eligible to apply for individual assistance to 108.