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Abbott And Patrick Delayed Federal Aid, Report Finds

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were slower to request federal aid than previous disasters. According to the Houston Chronicle, the governor had requested aid before the hurricane before landfall; this time, the request came a day after the storm had passed.

The Chronicle reviewed past requests made by Abbott and by former Gov. Rick Perry ahead of hurricanes and found that both governors had taken provisions and wrote their request even before the hurricane had made landfall. President Joe Biden said that he tried to reach both Abbott and Patrick but received no response until Tuesday, a day after the storm made landfall and killed seven Texans.

“I’ve been trying to track down the governor to see — I don’t have any authority to do that without a specific request from the governor,” Biden told the Chronicle.

Federal aid includes food, water and generators that could have helped the millions of Texas without power.

Texas is usually quicker to ask for federal aid. In 2017 and 2020 Abbott had already signed requests to then-President Donald Trump even before hurricanes Harvey and Hanna made landfall in Texas.

Perry also filed a disaster declaration a day after Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston in 2008.

Abbott left the country on Friday for a business trip to Asia and left Patrick in charge while most forecasts had predicted that Beryl would hit Texas.

Patrick said on Tuesday that he had first needed to see the damage before making the request, this contradicts the previous governor’s response and a former FEMA official said disaster declarations don’t need field review to be approved.

Leaving the state before a major disaster is also unusual behavior. In 2008, when Hurricane Gustav was in the Gulf of Mexico, Perry canceled his plans to attend the Republican National Convention. The storm never hit Texas, but the former governor knew there was a chance of a disaster occurring.

“It’s standard operating procedure for governors of a state in a natural disaster situation to cancel any trips they may have planned to stay in their state and handle what potentially could be a massive state emergency,” Darryl Paulson, a political scientist at the University of South Florida told the Chronicle.

Abbott said that his business trip would bring billions to Texas and that he remained in touch with state officials.

“The governor’s responsibility first is to the people of his state and protecting the people of his state,” Paulson added.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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