President Joe Biden plans to visit Texas “soon” as the state is suffering widespread power outages and water failures amid record-low temperatures and severe ice storms, he announced Friday.
Biden does not have an official date set for the visit, however, saying he doesn’t want to be a “burden” on the state in a time of crisis. Biden made the announcement minutes after delivering a virtual address to European allies at the Munich Security Conference. Biden has already spoken with Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has called for an investigation into the failure of his state’s power grid. (RELATED: Texans Waited Hours In Burger King Drive-Thru For Warm Meal During Storm Outages)
President Biden on visiting Texas:
“When the president lands in any city in America, it has a long tail … [if] I can do it without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while they’re dealing with this crisis, I plan on going.” pic.twitter.com/U1J7ebV0JJ
— The Recount (@therecount) February 19, 2021
We are ordering an investigation into ERCOT and immediate transparency by ERCOT. pic.twitter.com/Mt2GPlaFuE
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 16, 2021
Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Texas on Sunday, giving the state easier access to federal funding and other assistance to combat the crisis. Abbott has also deployed the National Guard.
The cold temperatures and power outages have left Texans scrambling for food, drinking water and warm places to sleep. Reports say at least 21 people have died.
The outage was reportedly caused in part by frozen wind turbines, though other failures also contributed.
“We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” said Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) President and CEO Bill Magness in the press release Monday. “At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time,”