Biden points to Texas leaders over delay in Beryl aid

(The Hill) - President Biden blamed the federal government's delay in releasing aid to Texas in response to Hurricane Beryl on state leaders, saying they did not make a formal request for a major former disaster declaration.

“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 said Tuesday in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) is serving as acting governor of the Lone Star State while Gov. Greg Abbott (R) remains abroad. Biden told the Chronicle that he “kept tracking the lieutenant governor” and had to reach out to the governor’s office to trigger the formal request.

Biden and Patrick ultimately did connect Tuesday, and Patrick made the formal declaration, which the president then approved.

The lieutenant governor said during a Tuesday press conference that there was “total teamwork” between federal, state and local officials. He added that there was “no delay from the White House, no delay from us.”

“The truth is, before you can ask for a declaration you have to go meet with people in the impacted areas to see what’s needed and the level of need,” Patrick said, per the Chronicle.

Abbott’s press secretary responded to Biden’s remarks, telling the Chronicle Tuesday, “This is a complete lie from President Biden, and frankly doesn't make any sense.”

“The president and his administration know exactly how to get in contact with the governor and have on numerous occasions in the past,” the spokesperson added.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and the Texas governor’s office for comment.

Hurricane Beryl pummeled through eastern Texas, causing millions of residents in Houston and nearby areas to lose power and experience flooding. On Monday, tracked 2.7 million residents without power. As of Wednesday morning, nearly 1.7 million customers still remain without power.

More than 1,300 flights were canceled and hundreds more delayed earlier this week as the storm crossed Texas.

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