President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Houston on Friday

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden head to Houston on Friday as Texas recovers from winter storms that left millions without power or water.

The White House announced the trip Tuesday. It is the president’s first trip to the state since he took office last month.

“The President will meet with local leaders to discuss the winter storm, relief efforts, progress toward recovery, and the incredible resilience displayed by the people of Houston and Texas,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.

He said Biden will also visit a COVID health center where vaccines are distributed, but did not specify which one.

The trip comes as the president declared a major disaster for 108 of the state’s 254 counties, and Governor Greg Abbott and members of the Texas delegation urged him to expand it to cover the entire state.

“Although the initial effects of this unprecedented winter storm are beginning to wear off, the entire state continues to rebound from the aftermath that has left millions without electricity, clean water and dwindling food supplies,” wrote more than two dozen members of Congress. from Texas. in a letter to Biden on Monday.

Psaki did not say Tuesday if the president planned to expand the statement further.

“In Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, shelter operations continue to decline, energy and transportation have returned to normal, and water restoration continues,” said Psaki. “However, 9.8 million people are affected by cuts in the water system and remain under boil water advisories.”

She said 9 million liters of water have been delivered or are on the way to more than 200 locally managed water distribution sites.

Biden said last week that he planned to visit Texas, but wanted to wait until his trip was not an interruption.

“I had planned to visit Texas in the middle of next week, but I don’t want to be a burden,” Biden said at the time. “When the president lands in a city in the United States, he has a long tail.”

The trip was already receiving some criticism from conservatives on Tuesday. Rob Henneke, General Counsel of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, tweeted: “Biden will hit 62 degrees and everything will be back to normal. I don’t see the meaning of the trip. “

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