President Biden is scheduled on Tuesday to visit areas of New York and New Jersey that were battered by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, his second trip surveying damage from a storm that killed dozens of people across the United States.
The trip will give Mr. Biden another opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to the federal government’s storm response and build support for an infrastructure package that he has promised would help safeguard against future storms.
In a speech last week, Mr. Biden described the floods as “yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” and called for more spending on modernizing electrical grids, sewers, water systems, bridges and roads.
The president’s travel is expected to include a stop in Queens, where several people were killed in flooded basement apartments. Climate change has made low-lying dwellings particularly treacherous: Of the 13 people found dead in New York City from the storm, at least 11 were in basement units, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.
Ida killed at least 25 people in New Jersey — more fatalities than in any other state — and several people remain missing. Mr. Biden is also scheduled to visit Manville, N.J., where floodwaters caused explosions and fires in buildings across the town.
The governors of New York and New Jersey announced on Monday that they had been granted federal aid money from the Biden administration, which declared areas in both states major disaster zones following the torrential rains and catastrophic flooding last week.
The funding, which will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, means those who have been displaced from their homes by the storm in the approved counties, including people who do not have insurance coverage, will be eligible for money to repair their homes. It will also cover legal services, unemployment assistance and crisis counseling, both states said.
The president’s trip comes four days after he visited Louisiana to survey damage there from Ida. Along with attending an emergency operations briefing with local and state officials, he toured damaged homes in LaPlace, hugging some people as they showed him debris from the storm.
In New York and New Jersey, advocates for tougher climate measures are hoping that the disaster will give momentum to new state and local climate laws and regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to help overcome opposition to even more sweeping proposals, like a New York City Council bill to ban gas heating and stoves in all new buildings.
Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York said on Twitter over the weekend that she was allocating $378 million in federal disaster funding to protect New York residents against the effects of climate change and would work with local governments to “identify & fix vulnerabilities so this level of damage doesn’t happen again.”