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Biden in Texas to survey storm recovery efforts

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BIDEN: "We will be true partners to help you recover and rebuild, from the storms and this pandemic and the economic crisis. We're in for the long-haul."

President Joe Biden and the first lady were in Houston, Texas on Friday, days after the president issued a major disaster declaration to free up funds for the state as it grapples with the damage left by a powerful winter storm.

Biden met with Republican Governor Greg Abbott, spoke with volunteers at a Houston food bank and workers at the Harris County emergency operations center in Houston.

BIDEN: "You're saving people's lives and you're doing, as my mother would say if she were here 'you're doing God's work, kid.'"

Biden’s Friday visit comes as Texas works to recover from a severe February storm that killed at least two dozen people, caused serious damage to homes and businesses, and left millions without power or clean water for days.

The President was told scores of people still don’t have clean water.

"We still have multiple water utility districts that are still repairing their systems today and 57 thousand residents still have to boil there water."

Last week, Abbott asked FEMA and Biden to issue a major disaster declaration for all of the state's 254 counties.

Biden initially signed off on a declaration for 77 counties, which Abbott said was not enough. Biden added 31 more on Monday and signaled he was open to increasing the number.

BIDEN: "When a crisis hits our states, like the one to hit Texas, it's not a Republican or Democrat that's hurting, it's our fellow Americans that are hurting. And it's our job to help everyone in need."

The state's Republican leaders have come under fire for not heeding warnings that its power grid needed significant upgrades to defend against deep freezes like the one in mid-February.

While Biden did not get into laying blame Friday, his deputy national security adviser did fault the Texas government for foregoing energy regulation that could have left it better prepared.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: We will be true partners to help you recover and rebuild from the storms and this pandemic and the economic crisis. We're in for the long haul.

- President Joe Biden and the First Lady were in Houston, Texas, Friday days after the president issued a major disaster declaration to free up funds for the state as it grapples with the damage left by a powerful winter storm. Biden met with Republican Governor Greg Abbott, spoke with volunteers at a Houston Food Bank, and workers at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center in Houston.

JOE BIDEN: You're saving people's lives and you're doing as my mother would say, you're doing God's work.

- Biden's Friday visit comes as Texas works to recover from a severe February storm that killed at least two dozen people, caused serious damage to homes and businesses, and left millions without power or clean water for days. The president was told that scores of people still don't have clean water.

- We still have multiple water utility districts that are still repairing their systems today and 57,000 residents still have to boil their water.

- Last week Abbott asked FEMA and Biden to issue a major disaster declaration for all of the state's 254 counties. Biden initially signed off on a declaration for 77 counties, which Abbott said was not enough. Biden added 31 more on Monday and signaled he was open to increasing the number.

JOE BIDEN: When a crisis hits our states like the one that hit Texas, it's not a Republican or Democratic who's hurting, it's our fellow Americans who are hurting. And it's our job to help everyone in need.

- The state's Republican leaders have come under fire for not heeding warnings that its power grid needed significant upgrades to defend against deep freezes like the one in mid-February. While Biden did not get into laying blame Friday, his deputy national security advisor did fault the Texas government for forgoing energy regulation that could have left it better prepared.