Despite the entire state asking for help after a damaging winter storm, President Joe Biden only included 77 of 254 Texas counties in his disaster declaration.
Biden signed a disaster declaration that covers areas with the larger populations in the state. These include Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, as per The Dallas Morning News,
However, most Texas officials, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn, and Gov. Greg Abbott feel like it’s lacking as the severe winter temperatures affected the entirety of Texas.
If included in a disaster declaration, counties will be provided assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This helps in restoring utilities and essentials that can help the people recover from such an emergency.
However, while the entire state of Texas needs this assistance, only major populous areas were included in the declaration.
More Than 200 Texas Counties Need Help
According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, the administration limited it to the said areas as it wanted to focus on the “hardest hit” places.
Psaki said on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday that the White House spoke to Abbott and that Biden is receiving “regular updates” from Abbott’s team regarding the situation in Texas.
She also revealed that Abbott did request for a federal disaster declaration. Then, the president asked for this to be expedited. With this, FEMA pointed out the counties that they should focus their resources on first. Psaki said this is to make sure they can attend to “the people in most need.”
The press secretary then laid out what this entailed. The assistance they aim to provide aims to help people through both the emergency and through the recovery.
While Psaki claims that they included “hardest hit” counties, many can see that the entire state needs help. According to Texas officials, the winter disaster affected all 254 counties, not just the most populous ones.
As per Nim Kidd, the chief of Texas’ Division of Emergency Management, they aim to get all of the counties added to the declaration. They plan to do so by gathering information and showing how much damage took place in all the places.
Apart from this, 18 of the 23 Republicans in the state’s GOP House caucus signed their names in a letter addressed to the president. In it, they asked Biden to reconsider his decision to limit the number of Texas counties in his declaration.