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Joe Biden renews focus on domestic issues with tour of New York area flood damage


WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will visit flood-damaged New Jersey and New York on Tuesday to survey the upheaval caused by Hurricane Ida, part of a renewed focus on domestic priorities after weeks dominated by the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Biden promised federal aid and urged national unity during a trip to storm-hit Louisiana on Friday after Ida devastated parts of the US Gulf Coast and unleashed even deadlier flooding in the Northeast.
On Tuesday he will be briefed by local leaders in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, and tour a neighborhood in Manville that was hit hard by the storm.
Later he will tour a neighborhood and deliver remarks in New York City’s Queens borough.
The President’s flood damage trips revive a familiar role of consoler-in-chief, after weeks spent defending his decision to pull US troops from Afghanistan and the deadly aftermath that ensued.
Although the Afghanistan issue is not behind him – the United States is still working to get Americans left in the country out, and resettling tens of thousands of evacuees – Biden is expected to focus in coming the days on a fight to protect women’s reproductive rights in the wake of a new Texas anti-abortion law, the end of extended unemployment benefits for many Americans and new measures to fight Covid-19.
On Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, he will visit the three sites where hijacked US domestic planes crashed.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said on Tuesday it would take “months more likely than weeks” to complete the cleanup, repairs and rebuilding after his state was ravaged by flooding and a tornado from the remnants of Storm Ida. He told CNN that Biden, who has issued disaster declarations for six of the state’s counties, had been “pitch perfect” in his response to the storm’s destruction.
Dozens of people have died from the hurricane’s destruction and some states are still grappling with widespread power outages and water-filled homes.
Speaking briefly to reporters on Monday evening after a trip to his home state of Delaware, Biden declared that Tuesday would be a “big day.” The President has used the storm to highlight the need for infrastructure spending in a bill he is working to get through Congress.





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