Trump Promises Full Federal Support for Regions Hit by HarveyBy and
President Donald Trump pledged the full support of the federal government to residents of Texas and Louisiana hit by Hurricane Harvey and said he expected Congress to act quickly on funding for emergency assistance.
“Every asset at my command is at the disposal of local officials,” Trump said during a White House press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. “Recovery will be a long and difficult road and the federal government stands ready, willing and able to assist in that effort.”
He said he looked forward to meeting with local officials during a visit to Texas on Tuesday and said he expected to be back in the region by Saturday. He predicted those hit by the disaster would see “very rapid action from Congress, certainly from the president.”
He promised the region would emerge from recovery “in fantastic shape” and it would “up and running quickly--very, very quickly.”
Trump is taking pains to show himself actively engaged in the federal response to Hurricane Harvey as he faces the first major natural disaster of his presidency with his popularity at an ebb. He said he has been in frequent contact with the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott.
The president and First Lady Melania Trump plan to fly to Texas on Tuesday even as Harvey, now a tropical storm, continues to deluge the region. An airspace restriction issued by aviation authorities suggests Air Force One will land in Corpus Christi, away from the worst ongoing flooding in the Houston region.
Trump told reporters earlier Monday at the White House that coordination of the response across the government has “been going very well" and that the response will be "very expensive."
Key lawmakers started pushing Monday for Congress to provide emergency disaster funds for Texas. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that any bill should be exempt from budget caps that require offsetting new spending with cuts. House Republicans were less clear on whether they would demand cuts to fund the Harvey response.
The storm’s costs could mount to $30 billion when including expenses tied to business interruption, infrastructure, the power grid and labor force, according to Chuck Watson, a risk modeler with Enki Research. He expects less than a third of that sum will be covered by the insurance industry. Katrina, the most expensive hurricane to hit the U.S., cost about $118 billion.
— With assistance by Rebecca Spalding, Joe Carroll, and Justin Sink