UNITED STATES NEWS

The request for federal aid after Beryl opens rift between White House and Texas

Jul 10, 2024, 8:25 PM

A Houston police officer carries a case of water to a car outside of Sunnyside Health and Multi-Ser...

A Houston police officer carries a case of water to a car outside of Sunnyside Health and Multi-Service Center during a distribution of water and ice on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, after Hurricane Beryl hit the Houston area on Monday. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — The damage left by Hurricane Beryl in Texas and requests for federal help has opened a rift between the White House and the state’s GOP leaders following the storm that pummeled the coast and knocked out power to millions of residents this week around Houston.

President Joe Biden said he tried tracking down Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — who has been in Asia on a trade mission since last week — to get the state to formally request a major disaster declaration that unlocks federal aid. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Biden also said he tried reaching Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has served as acting governor since Beryl made landfall Monday, before they eventually connected the next day.

Both Texas leaders have sharply pushed back on Biden’s version of events in the middle of a hurricane recovery that has left some coastal residents facing the possibility of days or weeks without electricity.

“I’ve been trying to track down the governor to see — I don’t have any authority to do that without a specific request from the governor,” Biden told the newspaper on Tuesday.

Abbott, in an interview from Japan on Wednesday with Austin television station KTBC, said Biden has reached him him multiple times on the same number following previous disasters in Texas but that the president this time never called that phone during Beryl.

“I know for an absolute 100% certainty, the only person to drop the ball is Joe Biden by making up some bizarre lie,” Abbott told the station. “And why he would do that? I have no idea.”

Patrick said he spoke with Biden on the phone on Tuesday and that the president granted Texas’ request for a disaster declaration. Patrick has said the state needed to first determine its needs before making a formal ask. Texas has previously requested federal help before hurricanes have made landfall, including before Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017.

Rafael Lemaitre, FEMA’s former national director of public affairs, told the newspaper that major disaster declarations do not need to wait for a thorough on-the-ground assessment. Governors are the lead requesters but can change their request as more information becomes available, Lemaitre said.

FEMA typically positions responders and aid before a hurricane makes landfall, said Beverly Cigler, a public policy professor at Penn State who specializes in intergovernmental relations and emergency management.

Once the disaster hits, an initial damage assessment is usually completed. If it reaches the threshold for an emergency declaration, the governor sends that assessment to the White House for review, she said.

“Everything is done well ahead of time,” Cigler said. “But a president has to wait to have a disaster request from the state to really get aid going in a big way.”

More than 1.4 million customers and business remained without power Wednesday evening in the Houston area, according to Poweroutage.us.

United States News

FILE - The sign is seen above the headquarters of Kaspersky Lab in Moscow, Jan. 30, 2017. Beginning...

Associated Press

Kaspersky to shutter US operations after its software is banned by Commerce Department, citing risk

NEW YORK (AP) — Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky says it’s shutting down all of its operations in the United States, just weeks after the Commerce Department banned the use of the company’s software in the country. Kaspersky will “gradually wind down” its U.S. operations starting July 20, according to a statement from the Moscow company. Positions […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Detroit-area county to pay $7 million to family of man killed while jailed for drunken driving

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area county agreed to a $7 million settlement in the death of a man who was severely beaten by another man while in jail for a misdemeanor. Separately, a federal prosecutor announced Monday that the Wayne County jail has agreed to improve how it serves people with disabilities and mental health […]

36 minutes ago

FILE - Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker speaks at at Philadelphia International Airport, Feb. 16,...

Associated Press

Thousands of Philadelphia city workers are back in the office full time after judge rejects lawsuit

Thousands of Philadelphia city employees are back in their offices full time after a judge rejected a union’s request to block Mayor Cherelle Parker’s requirement that they return. District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees had sued the city, claiming the mandate violates its contract and would harm city […]

2 hours ago

Binaifer Nowrojee, the president of the Open Society Foundations, poses for a portrait in her organ...

Associated Press

Soros’ Open Society Foundations say their restructuring is complete and pledge $400M for green jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic organizations that billionaire investor George Soros has built up since the 1970s, revealed its first new major commitment on Tuesday after a years-long internal reorganization, pledging $400 million over eight years to support green economic development. In some of her first public remarks since she was […]

2 hours ago

FILE - People shop at Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping center in Beijing, China, on July 2, 2024. On Tue...

Associated Press

IMF’s economic view: Brighter outlook for China and India but tepid global growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is upgrading its economic outlook this year for China, India and Europe while modestly lowering expectations for the United States and Japan. But it says worldwide progress against accelerating prices has been slowed by stickier-than-expected inflation for services, from airline travel to restaurant meals. Overall, the IMF said […]

2 hours ago

FILE - A holiday sale sign is displayed at a retail store in Rosemont, Ill., June 25, 2024. On Tues...

Associated Press

Retail sales unchanged in June from May as inflation moderates

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers paused their spending June from May as they wrestle with moderating inflation but still high interest rates that have made buying anything on credit more expensive. Retail sales were unchanged in June from May, which was better than economists expected, after being revised at up 0.3% in May, according to […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

The request for federal aid after Beryl opens rift between White House and Texas