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President Joe Biden toured parts of Louisiana ravaged by Hurricane Ida on Friday, using the disaster to tout his Build Back Better spending plan as an effective way to mitigate hurricane damage in the future.
"Folks, Hurricane Ida is another reminder that we need to be prepared for the next hurricane," Biden told a crowd near Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish. "Superstorms are going to come and they’re going to come more frequently and more ferociously. I’ve been working closely with your governor and our colleagues in Congress in both parties on my Build Back Better plan that will modernize our roads, our bridges, our water systems, sewers, drainage systems, power grids, and transmission lines to make sure they’re more resilient."
Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which includes a $2 trillion infrastructure plan and a $3.5 trillion spending plan that is currently tied up in the Senate, was a major talking point in his presidential campaign and is described on the White House website as an "ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families – all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share."
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Biden added that he walked through the various backyards and saw many downed power lines and phone lines and suggested his Build Back Better program agenda would help build underground power lines in the area that would be less susceptible to hurricane damage.
"We know for a fact if they are underground they’re secure…we’ve got to not just build it back to what it was with the same old poles up. We’ve got to build back better, we’ve got to build back more resiliently."
Biden said that he put in a request in the new multi-trillion budget spending plan, currently being negotiated in Congress, to pour funding into the Lake Charles, Louisiana area to help with hurricane damages.
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"Folks, I know you’re hurting," Biden said. "I want you to know we’re going to be here for you. This isn’t about being a Democrat or a Republican. We’re Americans and we’ll get through this together. We just gotta remember. We not only have to build back we need to build back better than it was before…so when the next superstorm comes there’s not the damage done."
Biden also called on insurance companies to cover everyone and not hide behind the "fine print."
"I'm calling on private insurance companies — don't hide behind fine print and technicality," Biden said. "Pay what you owe your customers. Cover temporary housing costs and national disasters, and help those in need."
Biden’s visit comes after Ida left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in Louisiana and Mississippi. Ida was the fifth most powerful storm to hit the mainland U.S., with maximum winds of 150 mph, according to the Associated Press.
Entergy Louisiana CEO Philip May said power would return to most customers in the Baton Rouge area by Sept. 8, but utility officials on Thursday said they were unsure when power would be restored in New Orleans.
At least seven deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have been attributed to Ida.
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The remnants of the storm swept across the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday, where tornadoes were seen ripping through Philadelphia suburbs and the Annapolis, Maryland, area. Flooding in New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut has also left dozens dead, while extensive damage to the area has the Big Apple’s subway struggling to remain operational.
Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.
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