Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy is parting ways with the likes of former President Donald Trump to back President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan after Hurricane Ida devastated parts of his home state of Louisiana. “According to an internal senior leadership briefing I obtained, 1 million people in Louisiana are without power,” Politico reporter Erin Banco tweeted on Monday. “Four hospitals have been damaged. 39 facilities are on generator power. Two levees overtopped.” Soon after Ida made landfall on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, it left downed power lines in its path, trapped New Orleans residents in their French Quarter homes, and blocked roads in areas throughout the state, CNN reported.
“Lafourche Parish re-entry will be delayed for up to a week, maybe longer, due to conditions created by Hurricane IDA,” the parish said in a news release.“Lafourche Parish roads are currently unpassable and will be for some time.”
While Trump has threatened to pull endorsements from any legislator who supported the infrastructure bill that is the result of bipartisan work between the president and legislators, Cassidy told CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday that "if we're going to make our country more resilient to natural disasters wherever they are, we have to start preparing now."
Passed by the Senate in a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10, the infrastructure bill is slated to come before House lawmakers on Sept. 27, Cassidy said. “Again $50 billion is in there for resiliency, $65 billion in there to harden the grid, things that certainly would help here,” Cassidy said. "And so, now where Republicans are, I don't know yet. But I'm sure hoping that Republicans look around my state, see this damage and say, 'If there's money for resiliency, money to harden the grid, money to help sewer and water, then maybe this is something we should be for.'"
The bill includes $550 billion in new federal investment in the country’s infrastructure, including $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation; $55 billion to replace lead service lines and make other changes to ensure clean drinking water; and $65 billion to make sure every American has access to electricity and high-speed internet, according to a fact sheet from the White House. It also dedicates $50 billion to making "our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber attacks."
As Cassidy put it in a tweet: "We have to start preparing for next year's hurricane now."
Democrats have been advocating for the bill for months now. Last week, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock told WABE about the need for more traffic lanes on State Route 92 in Douglasville and the heavy traffic delays that have resulted. A project to address the traffic has been in the works for decades, WABE reported. “When you think about how long it’s taken to get this done, it is illustrative of what happens when we keep saying ‘infrastructure week, infrastructure week’, but have been really slow in getting infrastructure done,” Warnock said.
He tweeted: “Folks are tired of hearing about infrastructure week and seeing no action. The bipartisan bill we recently passed is changing that.”
You can help Hurricane Ida victims by donating to one or more of these organizations.
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