Ahead of Biden visit, Louisiana senator presses disaster aid

Louisiana

FILE – In this July 24, 2020, file photo, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., delivers remarks to media after registering as a candidate to run as an incumbent in Baton Rouge, La. More than a dozen unions and citizens’ groups say unemployed workers will demonstrate at U.S. senators’ offices in nine Louisiana cities to demand continued $600 federal coronavirus unemployment benefits. Sens. Cassidy and John Kennedy are among Republicans supporting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to cut that benefit to $200 a week on top of state unemployment pay. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is asking President Joe Biden, ahead of his Thursday visit to Louisiana, to back disaster aid to help the state with recovery from the 2020 hurricanes.

Louisiana’s Republican senior senator and Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, sent a letter to the White House seeking support for disaster assistance for communities dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes, floods, wildfires and winter weather that struck over the last year.

“While in most cases the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has delivered substantial emergency relief to affected communities, the scale of natural disasters experienced in 2020 demands additional resources,” the senators wrote.

The letter was sent as Biden was scheduled Thursday to visit New Orleans and Lake Charles, which was hit by Hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020. Last year set a record for the most named storms in a hurricane season, with five striking Louisiana.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards also has asked Biden for billions in disaster recovery aid.

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