President Joe Biden traveled to parts of the northeast Tuesday to view the aftermath of flash flooding that left at least 50 people dead in six states.
Biden made stops in Manville, New Jersey and the New York City borough of Queens, where record rainfall last week caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida overwhelmed rivers and sewer systems leaving some trapped in flooding basements or swept away by fast-moving waters that crashed through the streets. The storm also produced multiple tornadoes.
Biden used the weather event as a backdrop to push his $1 trillion infrastructure plan to modernize roads, bridges, sewers and other infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather. The measure is still being considered in Congress. The White House has also asked Congress for an additional $24 billion to cover the costs of Hurricane Ida and other natural disasters.
Biden called the situation “code red,” claiming that climate change was the cause for the storms and a reason to enact his infrastructure plan.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy,” said Biden in an address given in an alley in Queens surrounded by New York officials and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D). “The threat is here. It’s not going to get any better. The question is can it get worse. We can stop it from getting worse.”
Biden said climate change is an international problem and needed a global response saying, “We’ve got to move the rest of the world. Not just America.”
The route the president’s motorcade took through New Jersey earlier in the day provided evidence of the flood damage, with piles of garbage bags and sodden furniture heaped along the curbs.
The streets were also lined with residents holding cell phones above their heads. Among them were large clumps of Trump supporters waving signs and shouting.
By Nick Ciolino