Politics

More Than 200 Texas Counties Ask For Major Disaster Declaration, Biden Only Gives It To 77

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If President Joe Biden had taken a trip to Mexico and left his dogs home, do you think the mainstream media would have noticed that he only declared a major disaster for 77 of 254 Texas counties?

Asking for a friend. Sure, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s trip to Cancun wasn’t exactly an example of masterful optics, but at least you could argue several things in his defense.

First, the situation in the state dramatically improved by the time he left. The Associated Press reported most of the power was back on when he hopped a plane to the Yucatán Peninsula — only 325,000 people didn’t have electricity, as opposed to 3 million at the height of the winter weather emergency. The major issue was access to water.

Further, Cruz had actually done exactly what a senator was supposed to doTogether with fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn, he had sent a letter to President Biden to “respectfully urge you to approve the Governor’s request for Public Assistance Category B and Direct Federal Assistance for all 254 Texas counties.” As Politico Playbook noted, this “is the main thing a senator is good for at this stage (though other electeds are doing a lot more).”

But I come not to praise Ted Cruz, who made a pretty serious whoopsie. I come, instead, to wonder why the media hasn’t bothered looking into Biden’s curious decision not to declare a major disaster for the entirety of the state, not just the 77 counties that he did.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the disaster declaration signed by Biden covers major population centers — the area around Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin — but it’s not what Cruz, Cornyn or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had wanted. It’s also important because the assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other arms of government can help storm victims get back on their feet, with grants that cover things like temporary housing and home repairs.

So, what’s the reasoning behind limiting the emergency declaration?

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