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Touring Ida Devastation in Northeast, POTUS Calls Climate Change ‘Everybody’s Crisis’

President Joe Biden declared climate change has become “everybody’s crisis” on Tuesday as he toured neighborhoods in NewYork and New Jersey flooded by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, warning it’s time for America to get serious about the “code red” danger or face ever worse loss of life and property. On Tuesday, the White House asked Congress for an additional $24 billion in disaster aid to cover the costs of Ida and other destructive weather events.

The President spoke after walking the streets in New Jersey and then Queens in New York City, meeting people whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by flooding when Ida barreled through. The storm dumped record amounts of rain onto already saturated ground and was blamed for more than a dozen deaths in the city.

President Biden said he thinks the damage everyone is seeing, from wildfires in the West to hurricane havoc in the South and Northeast, is turning climate-change skeptics into believers, but years of unheeded warnings from scientists, economists, and others mean time for action is short. “The threat is here. It is not getting any better,” President Biden said in New York. “The question is can it get worse. We can stop it from getting worse.”

Joined in New Jersey by Senator Cory Booker, who resides in Newark, the President sounded a similar theme before he toured Manville, which was also ravaged by severe flooding caused by Ida. President Biden walked along a street in the Lost Valley neighborhood where flooding is common and the cleanup continues after the Raritan River overflowed its banks. Many front lawns were covered with waterlogged couches, broken pianos, crumbled plaster, and other debris. One home displayed a hand-painted sign that said, “Manville will be back better.”

President Biden, wearing a mask, spoke to adults and children, including Meagan Dommar, a new mother whose home was destroyed by fire as the flood occurred. She told him that she and her husband, Caesar, had left with the baby before the flooding, then returned to find destruction. “Thank God you’re safe,” Biden replied. She said afterward she hoped the visit would speed help “along a little bit” and said she was grateful for the visit.

But not everyone was so welcoming. As he walked the route, the Democratic president was taunted by supporters of Donald Trump, who yelled that Biden was a “tyrant” and worse. Biden did not look in their direction, focusing on the families in need.

 

“Every part of the country, every part of the country is getting hit by extreme weather,” President Biden said during a briefing with officials in Somerset County, including Gov. Phil Murphy. He said the threat from wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and other extreme weather must be dealt with in ways that will lessen the devastating effects of climate change. “We can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse,” he said. “We don’t have any more time.”

The natural disasters have given the Biden Administration an opening to push Congress to approve the President’s plan to spend $1 trillion to fortify infrastructure nationwide, including electrical grids, water, and sewer systems, to better defend against extreme weather. The legislation has cleared the Senate and awaits a House vote. President Biden also talked up a side benefit of the plan, the “good-paying jobs” he said it will create.

At the briefing, Biden focused on the personal calamities, saying: “The losses that we witnessed today are profound. My thoughts are with all those families affected by the storm and all those families who lost someone they love.”



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