HOUSTON — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will touch down in Houston on Friday. His visit is planned to focus on winter storm recovery and COVID-19 vaccines.
One of the biggest needs from the winter storm was access to basic things like water and food. At the Houston Food Bank, sources tell KHOU that Biden will be thanking volunteers for helping Texas recover.
We’ve seen the lines across Houston full of people desperate to find food and water after the winter storm. Now, those struggles will be seen on a national stage.
“Gov. (Greg) Abbott, I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to coming down to Houston to be with you," Biden said.
“I think it reflects the gravity of the situation," said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University.
Jones said to expect Biden to stay away from politics and focus on recovery efforts and his Presidential Disaster Declarations.
“It means a lot of aid opens up for the approximately 100 counties that have been declared disaster areas," Jones said.
But that’s less than half of Texas’ 254 counties. Jones said to expect Abbott to ask Biden to add more. The declaration means homeowners in the designated counties can apply for FEMA money for repairs, small business aid and delays in filing taxes.
“For average citizens, it’s going to be a long haul before you actually see money coming into your bank account," Jones said. "But the cities, counties and states are already taking advantage of that disaster status to spend money they know eventually they will be reimbursed for."
Biden will also make stops tomorrow at Harris County’s Emergency Operations Center and NRG Park. That’s where one of the first FEMA megasites in the country is vaccinating 6,000 people a day.