President Joe Biden toured stunning hurricane devastation in LaPlace, Louisiana Friday – and tied to the recovery effort to his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan that a top Senate Democrat wants to put it on a slow track.
Days after Hurricane Ida walloped the Louisiana coast and followed a path of destruction through the state, Biden came here to meet with local officials.
‘You know I get kind of beat up, criticized,’ Biden said at a meeting with government officials in LaPlace, an area that bore substantial damage when Hurricane Ida hit.
‘Things have changed so drastically in terms of the environment. You’ve already crossed a certain threshold. You can’t build back a road, a highway or a bridge to what it was before. You’ve ego to build back to what it is now,’ Biden said.
He spoke to officials after landing in New Orleans and driving through rows electric poles toppled by the storm.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Dozens of white line crews could be seen lining the road as his motorcade passed. Biden once again praised crews from 24 states he said had come to aid the relief effort. One lineman in a green safety jacket gave a one-finger salute to the motorcade as it passed, as DailyMail.com observed traveling with the president.
President Joe Biden toured stunning hurricane devastation in LaPlace, Louisiana, getting a briefing at St. John Parish Emergency Operations Center
A van sits in a ditch in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida
Biden saluted those crews in his brief remarks while pool cameras rolled, noting that people responded from across the country to help.
‘You’re not going to put up the same system … Build it better,’ he said, talking about burying power lines even if it costs more to defray future costs.
‘I just want you all focused on that as you take a look,’ he said, with House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in the room. Not a single Republican backed his sweeping ‘reconciliation’ bill when Democratic leaders brought it up, while his infrastructure bill drew some Republican support in the Senate.
His pitch came hours after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) published a searing op-ed called for a ‘strategic pause’ for the reconciliation bill – a posture that could imperil it.
‘Take a look and see if what we’re suggesting makes the most sense to you. Not whether it’s not the money or not or too much. Does it make sense? Does it make sense?’ Biden said.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
He pointed to the Feds’ $15 billion in levees after Hurricane Katrina, with a system that appears to have held and kept New Orleans mostly dry.
‘That was a lot of money. Think how much money it saved?’ Biden said.
He said his daughter Ashley, who went to Tulane, told him: ‘What are you spending time talking to the governor of New York? Why are you not in Louisiana?’
New York also got slammed by the hurricane, and some locals fear they could lose the nation’s attention.
Biden talked up $500 FEMA checks. Sometimes it’s just what you need that moment that can make a difference,’ he said.
President Joe Biden speaks with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (L) and Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng upon his arrival in New Orleans
Biden acknowledged he was pitching his program in the fallout of the storm. ‘I realize I’m selling as I’m talking to you now,’ he said. But he said his infrastructure proposal would provide good paying jobs.
His press aide, Karine Jean-Pierre, wouldn’t provide specifics when asked if Biden had met with Manchin, who in a searing op-ed called for a ‘strategic pause’ for the reconciliation bill. Manchin has considerable leverage in the 50-50 Senate, and could stall the reconciliation package or use his sway to try to slash its bottom line.
On his stop, Biden will visit some of the hardest hit areas south of LaFourche, Louisiana where the Category 4 Hurricane made landfall and ripped through structures and devastated entire communities.
His trip comes after Hurricane Ida pummeled Louisiana, before making its way through a swath of the country to cause massive flooding in the Northeast,