Ocasio-Cortez Says Texas Disaster Pushes Many to the Brink

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared at the Houston Food Bank on Saturday in support of her fund-raising efforts for Texas storm relief, saying this week’s disaster had pushed many in the state to the brink.

“When disaster strikes, this is not just a issue for Texans, this is an issue for our entire country,” said the Democrat, about 1,600 miles from her home district in the Bronx and Queens, New York. “Our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across the state.”

The Texas power grid has returned to normal operations as an historic cold blast eases, but the impact of the deep freeze has left many towns still without water, homes yet to be reconnected to electricity supplies, and highways choked with ice and snow ahead of a warm-up.

Ocasio-Cortez’s fund-raising drive, started Thursday, had raised $3.2 million by Friday night for five grass-roots organizations. She appeared in Houston under a clear, cold blue sky with Representatives Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee, both Texas Democrats.

“I thought we’d be able to raise a decent amount of money but the response was so incredibly overwhelming,” she said. “When we hit a million, then we hit $2 million, it was like alright, we’ve got to get on a plane now.”

Many Texas families were already on the brink, said Ocasio-Cortez, adding, “When you have a disaster like this it can just set people back for years, not just for days.”

She called for the implementation of “short and long-term policy decisions so that this sort of devastation -- preventable devastation -- never happens again,” and also addressed a small crowd on hand in Spanish.

Ocasio-Cortez spent time packing boxes of supplies at the food bank and was expected to visit other area food distribution centers.

President Joe Biden on Saturday approved a major disaster declaration for Texas, which will expedite federal funding for a state wracked with widespread power outages following a rare arctic blast this week.

Garcia said Saturday that “the response could be better from our state leadership” and that a full investigation is warranted, including into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s grid.

“There will need to be reforms in ERCOT and I urge the legislature to do that and it should include whether or not to join the federal grid. I think everything should be on the table. Texans do no want to do go through this again.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched a probe into the power failures that paralyzed the second-largest U.S. state for the better part of a week, according to a statement late Friday.

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