President Biden toured storm-ravaged areas of New York and New Jersey Tuesday and placed blame for the devastation on climate change.
“People are beginning to realize this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe,” Biden told residents of Queens, New York, during his remarks following a tour through the neighborhood. “And the whole segment of our population denying this thing called climate change. Even the climate skeptics are seeing that this really does matter.”
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The president added that scientists have concluded the country is facing a “code red” threat from climate change and that the crisis is an “existential threat to our lives.”
That’s not hyperbole,” Biden said. “That is a fact.”
Biden touted his “Build Back Better” spending plans on infrastructure as a way to ensure that devastation from deadly storms would not happen in the future.
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“We can stop it from getting worse,” Biden said, explaining that his infrastructure spending would address problems caused by the storm, including paying for “flood-proof power stations” and “underground electrical lines.”
The president’s visit comes after he approved a disaster declaration for New York state, clearing the way for officials to access federal relief funding to aid recovery efforts.
The decision came one day after Biden approved a similar disaster declaration for six counties in New Jersey.
The action made federal funding available to affected individuals. The assistance, according to the White House, can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the storm.
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At least 50 people were killed across six states as the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall to the Eastern seaboard. The hurricane initially made landfall in Louisiana, causing major damage and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said the hurricane resulted in more than $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property, according to estimates from state and federal experts. Hochul directed an additional $378 million in existing FEMA funds toward disaster mitigation efforts within the state.
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.