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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.”
— Texas Division of Emergency Management (@TDEM) February 20, 2021
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
Eff off. https://t.co/xsXkx1rgmL
— Karen Townsend (@penguinponders) February 22, 2021
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