Cassidy: Hurricane Ida Proves Need for Infrastructure Bill

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) led the push for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, reviving stalled talks with the White House earlier this summer and spearheading negotiations with fellow senators. He now says Hurricane Ida, which slammed his home state, proves why the bill is crucial.

Roll Call notes that Cassidy, “who advocated for including coastal resiliency funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate by a 69-30 margin on Aug. 10, said Monday that he was among the more than 1 million Louisianan utility customers without power.” Power could be out for weeks in parts of the state.

Cassidy told PBS, “Everybody is sighing a sigh of relief that New Orleans’ levees held. … If we invest now, not just in Louisiana, but around our nation, in issues such as coastal restoration, flood mitigation, hardening the grid — there’s billions to harden the grid, so they don’t topple again, leaving our parishes without electricity — $50 billion nationwide for sewer and water, $65 billion to make sure every American has access to broadband Internet.”

CleanTechnica writes, “The aftermath of Ida may spur Congress to finally get around to passing the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has been pending since July.” Shelley Welton of the University of South Carolina School of Law said, “These are lessons we have to learn over and over again. … We need to build infrastructure to better withstand stronger storms that we know are coming.”

CNN writes that “millions of Americans have gone without power this year. The biggest examples include California (heat), Texas (cold) and now Louisiana (hurricanes)” — and nowhere in the U.S. is without some risk: “Work your way around a map of the U.S. and there have been disasters and outages just about everywhere in recent years.”

In an interview with CNBC, Cassidy said, “I’m sure hoping that Republicans look around my state, see this damage and say if there’s money for resiliency, money to harden the grid, money to help sewer and water, then maybe this is something we should be for.”

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