New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised over $5 million dollars in relief for Texas. This was in response to the snow storm last weekend that left the state without power and frozen. Ocasio-Cortez was in Texas on Saturday along with Democratic representatives from Texas to volunteer at a local food bank. Speaking to reporters about the fundraising Ocasio-Cortez had a very Obama DNC 2004 moment saying; "That's the New York spirit, that's the Texas spirit, and that's the American spirit."
The extreme cold weather, snow and ice caused the Texas Power grid to break down. This left many Texans without power and a boil-water notice for days.Sadly many people have died in the days following the storm and it is reported that some families are suing the power companies for the loss of their loved ones.
AOC announced the fundraising appeal on Thursday and the dollars quickly began to flow in. By Friday the fund had reached $ 2 million dollars and by Saturday $4 million.On Sunday evening Ocasio-Cortez announced that the fund had reached $5 million.
The funds will be distributed among a variety of charities including Houston Food Bank, Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center.Support has also come from other neighboring southern states. Oklahoma and Louisiana have sent supplies such as gernaters,blankets, food and water to the disaster stricken state.
Biden has also acted quickly to approve formal aid for Texas on Saturday the White House approved a major disaster declaration for 77 countries in Texas. This allows those affected by the storm to access cheap loans to cover losses experienced by uninsured property and grant for housing and home repairs.The declaration also allows funding to be released for charities and non-profit organisations.Along with support for state and local governments to provide emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures.
The Republican governor Greg Abbot called for a major disaster declaration for all 254 counties.The white house is reported to be working to determine the scale of the damage caused and the demand for the expansion of supports.Biden is also expected to travel to Texas this week to asses the federal response to the crisis.
One cannot write about the Texas Disaster without writing about the reaction of the State senator Ted Cruz. Cruz Flew to Cancun with his family for vacation on Saturday as his state battled rolling blackout and water shortages. This caused national and global outrage.The lawmaker returned on Saturday following the reaction and initially blamed his daughters for suggesting the vacation.
In the last few days the senator has moved to blame the media for the reaction to the trip. In an interview on Fox News Cruz said; “I think the media is suffering from Trump withdrawal.”, “Where they’ve attacked Trump every day for four years, they don’t know what to do so they obsess over my taking my girls to the beach.”. The Senator also complained that the media was focussing on this trip instead of focussing on Cuomo's nursing home scandal despite the wide coverage of the matter.
Cruz wasn't the only leader to leave the state during the storm. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton traveled to Utah for meetings during the week. It's unclear why these meetings could not have been rescheduled or taken virtually in response to the unfolding crisis.
Paxton has also committed to an investigation into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates most of the state’s electrical grid. The state power network is mostly unregulated and it appears that the faults could have been predicted.
It is well documented that people often respond better to a disaster than the threat of a disaster. This may prove true in the lone star state as questions are asked about leaders and regulation.