UNITED STATES: President Joe Biden travelled to California on Monday as part of his western U.S. trip to survey wildfire damage as the state battles a devastating fire season that is on track to outpace that of 2020, the state’s worst fire season on record.
The three-state western U.S. trip is aimed at highlighting the devastation caused by a warming planet, pushing for more resources to tackle the issue and touting the environmental initiatives that are part of the infrastructure bills his administration is pushing.
While in California, Biden will also campaign for fellow Democrat Gavin Newsom, who is to face a recall election on Tuesday to maintain his governorship in California.
Biden toured the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento with Newsom, where he addressed emergency operations officials and said parents are not just worried for their children over COVID-19 but whether they can also breathe the air.
“It isn’t about red or blue states. It’s about fires,” the president said.
“Scientists have been warning us for years that extreme weather is going to get more extreme. We’re living it in real time.”
The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress hope to pass two major bills by the end of the month that, together, would make hundreds of billions of dollars available for developing clean energy, rebuilding physical infrastructure to make it withstand more extreme weather events, and electrifying the federal fleet of vehicles.
“My message to you is, when we build back, we have to build back better,” Biden said, using a slogan he has used to describe his agenda. “It’s not a Democrat thing, it’s not a Republican thing. It’s a weather thing. It’s a reality.”
The measures face hurdles in the closely divided U.S. Congress.
Biden will focus even more on infrastructure during a stop in Denver on Tuesday, where he will tout the legislation he is seeking to repair U.S. roads and bridges along with a swath of other domestic policy priorities.