“When the president lands in a city in America, it has a long tail," President Joe Biden told reporters last Friday when asked if he was thinking about making a trip to the Lone Star State. But then on Monday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner and a bevy of other local elected officials stood outside FEMA's new NRG Stadium vaccination site, thanking the Biden administration for making it happen, and pointedly noting that the president would not be creating problems for the city if he were to visit in the wake of the historic winter storm that Texas endured last week.
And maybe that was all Biden was waiting for, because now he and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, are headed to the Bayou City this Friday. Biden will "meet with local leaders to discuss the winter storm, relief efforts, progress toward recovery, and the incredible resilience shown by the people of Houston and Texas," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing held shortly after the trip was announced.
In addition to getting together with elected officials about the damage from the historic winter storm last week and the current recovery efforts that are underway, Biden is also set to tour Covid-19 health centers where vaccines are being distributed, according to Psaki. More details about the trip will be released soon, she continued.
Biden was in close contact with local and state leaders as the storm and then the power and water outages played out here last week, and he authorized a major disaster declaration requested by Gov. Greg Abbott for more than 100 Texas counties over the weekend, allowing regular people and local and state government to tap into federal assistance to help with repairs on homes, businesses, and to the infrastructure damaged by the storm.
So he's unlocked funding that could help us recover, and now the man himself will soon be here.