President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for the state of Texas on Friday in the wake of devastating winter storms.
"Yesterday, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms beginning on February 11, 2021, and continuing," the White House said in a statement released Saturday.
"Assistance 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 disaster," the statement continues. "Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide."
Biden said Friday he hopes to visit Texas in the wake of devastating winter storms but said that he doesn't want to be a "burden" on authorities.
"I had planned on being in Texas the middle of next week, but what I don't want to be is a burden," Biden said. "When the president lands in any city in America, it has a long tail, and they're working like the devil to take care of their folks."
His visit could come as soon as next week, he added.
"If in fact it's concluded that I can go without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while they're dealing with this crisis, I plan on going," Biden continued.
The announcement comes after Biden spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on the phone Thursday. The president tweeted that he "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.”
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
The declaration will permit Texas to receive additional Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources.
As of Friday a great majority of Texans again have electricity but roughly 12 million residents are under orders to boil water.
At least 59 people have died nationwide in the wake of the wicked winter weather.