Pence to visit hurricane-ravaged Texas


Vice President Mike Pence will travel to hurricane-struck Texas on Thursday to meet with Texans affected by the storm, his office said in a statement.

He will visit the Corpus Christi area, which was the point of initial landfall for Hurricane Harvey in that state.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke will all ride Air Force Two with the vice president to Texas.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas, as he met with federal, state, and local officials about the ongoing rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey made landfall over the weekend.

When aides advised Trump that visiting the hardest-hit areas would divert important resources from the recovery efforts, he settled upon Corpus Christi, the coastal city which was spared the brunt of the damage.

It is not the first time Pence has visited natural-disaster ravaged regions. In August 2016, when he was governor of Indiana, he paused campaigning on the Trump ticket to visit regions of his state that were hit by tornadoes.

Harvey is projected to be one of the most expensive natural disasters in US history. Two estimates on Wednesday put total losses — including property damage, lost wages and disrupted business — at as much as $75 billion.

Trump said earlier this week that he believes Congress will act quickly to provide disaster relief funding to the areas affected by Harvey, predicting “very rapid action” on the matter.

While Pence served in Congress, he voted for the final package for Katrina relief in 2005, though he made comments on the House floor that expressed concern in raising taxes to fund it.

“We must ensure that a catastrophe of nature does not become a catastrophe of debt for our children and grandchildren, through introducing tough budget cuts like Operation Offset.”

At the time, Pence was head of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of fiscal conservatives who were pressing for some spending cuts to pay for the relief package.

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