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Biden, the first lady will travel to Texas this week

President Joe Biden will fly to Texas this week after devastating winter storms that left millions without power.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to the southern state on Friday, the White House said.

The Bidens are going to Houston.

While there, they will meet with local leaders to discuss relief efforts, progress toward recovery, and « the incredible resilience shown by the people of Houston and Texas, » White House press secretary Jen Psaki told journalists in Washington on Tuesday.

“While in Texas, the President will also visit a COVID health center where vaccines are distributed. Clearly, there are still more details of the trip ahead and, as we have them, we will make them available, « he added.

Biden had postponed his trip to the state because he did not want to withdraw resources as so many people struggled through the aftermath of the storms, the White House said last week.

“He is eager to go to Texas and show his support. But he is also well aware of the fact that it is not easy for a president to travel to a disaster area. He doesn’t want to take away resources or attention, ”Psaki added during a television appearance on Sunday.

Texas was hit by storms on February 15, causing widespread power outages and problems getting clean water.

A man walks to his friend’s house in a neighborhood without power as snow covers the BlackHawk neighborhood in Pflugerville, Texas, on February 15, 2021 (Bronte Wittpenn / Austin American-Statesman / USA Today Network via .).

Temperatures fell below freezing and parts of the power grid went offline as demand soared. The state energy council implemented continuous blackouts to prevent a statewide blackout.

Bill Magness, executive director of the Texas Electrical Reliability Council, said the system was only moments away from such a blackout, prompting operators to take action.

“If we had not taken action, it would not have been the case, we would have waited a few days to see what happens. It was seconds and minutes, given the amount of generation that was leaving the system at the same time that the demand continued to increase, « he told reporters in an online briefing last week.

Since then, the system’s output has caught up with demand, but authorities are investigating the council’s actions before and during the storms.

It was unclear if Biden will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican he has spoken to multiple times about the storm and what the federal government can provide the state to assist in relief efforts.

Biden partially approved Abbott’s request for a major disaster declaration over the weekend. The administration approved assistance to another 33 counties on Monday.