- In the wake of last week's devastation from Hurricane Ida, President Joe Biden, governors and congressional lawmakers have ramped up efforts to highlight the importance of new federal infrastructure spending.
- The massive storm brought historic flooding as it moved up the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, killing at least 60 people and leaving thousands more homeless and without power. In cities including New York City, rainfall from the storm left municipal drainage systems unable to handle the floodwaters.
- Elected leaders from the affected states said the storm demonstrated the need for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill now pending in the House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that lawmakers will vote on it, as well as a companion $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, by the end of the month.
"I don't ever want again to see Niagara Falls rushing down the stairs of one of the New York City subways," New York Gov. Kathy. Hochul said last week during a briefing covered by The New York Times. "I can't prevent it right now, but I know we have to take action to mitigate that."
She said these types of storms are becoming more commonplace.
"Some people have called this a 500-year event. I don't buy it," said Hochul. "No longer will we say, that won't happen again in our lifetime. This could literally happen next week."
Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana urged his fellow Republicans to get on board with the federal infrastructure package last week. "If we're going to make our country more resilient to natural disasters, whatever they are, we have to start preparing now," according to ABC News. "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."
In a separate appearance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., attributed the storm's ferocity to global warning and climate change.
"Global warming is upon us," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "When you get two record rainfalls in a week (in New York City), it's not just coincidence. When you get all the changes that we have seen in weather, that's not a coincidence. ... It's going to get worse and worse and worse, unless we do something about it."
Touring Ida's aftermath in Louisiana last week, Biden called for the bill's "historic investment" in highways, railways and bridges, as well as energy and clean water. The president is scheduled to visit New York and New Jersey Tuesday to see firsthand the destruction there, according to Reuters.