Vice President Mike Pence (center) with his wife Karen, greets residents effected by Hurricane Harvey during a visit in Rockport, Texas. (AP photo) Related News
Vice President Mike Pence met with people reeling under the rampage caused by Hurricane Harvey in the US state of Texas and promised them full support by his government until the state is back on its feet. Pence along with several cabinet officials met the people in Corpus Christi on Thursday before heading to the town of Rockport.
“The American people are with you,” he told a crowd outside a Rockport church that was damaged by the tropical storm. “We are here today, we will be here tomorrow and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region is rebuilt bigger and better than ever before,” he said.
Taking stock of the damage caused by catastrophic floods brough by Harvey, Pence vowed over and over that Washington will invest whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to ensure a full recovery of the state.
“We promise you, we’re going to stay with you every step until we bring Southeast Texas back bigger and better than ever before,” he said.
About 21,000 federal workers have been mobilised in response to the storm and the Congress is expected to debate passage of a multi billion-dollar emergency aid package in the coming weeks.
Harvey, now a tropical depression, made the second landfall on Wednesday, slamming into the Louisiana coast near the Texas border hitting the region with record-breaking rainfall and devastating floods.
Harvey has brought the heaviest rainfall in US history, soaking Texas with more than 52 inches since it first made landfall last Friday.
At least 38 people have been killed as a result of the devastating floods and that number was climbing as water receded, revealing the storm’s awful toll, officials were quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Storm-battered Texans faced a worrying new threat as potentially harmful smoke spewed from a swamped chemical plant near Houston, as Harvey’s floodwaters began to recede in America’s fourth-largest city.
President Donald Trump, who visited the area early this week, is expected to return on Saturday.
On his visit to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, Pence hugged the survivors, prayed with them and even pitched in to help haul away debris from a damaged home.
“I think the scope is truly breathtaking,” Pence told ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl in an interview in Rockport. “We’re gonna be here today, tomorrow, until it’s done. It’s not months, it’s years,” he added.
The vice president pledged unwavering the support from the government as he stood by the president’s threat of forcing a government shutdown later this month if Congress does not approve of funding for a new border wall along the southern border of the US.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump had said during a campaign rally last week in Arizona.
Pence said, “The president has made clear that we’re going to stand firm and we’re going to build a wall and secure our border. But I will tell you, President Trump’s made it very clear that our top priority right now is dealing with Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath,” he said.
Pence said they will make sure that people of Texas and the region have the resources and the support that they need to rebuild their lives. Congress has until the end of the month to come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a government default, and pass a spending budget. Pence’s visit came just two days after Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin and met with state and local officials.
“You’ve inspired the nation by your resilience and by your courage and we just came here to commend you and to encourage you and to assure you that we will be there,” Pence told people of Rockport.
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