President Joe Biden says he is making a major disaster declaration for Texas that will clear the way for more federal resources, and plans to visit the state at a time when he won't be interfering with the disaster response.
The disaster declaration will unlock more Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources for Texas. The president said he'll sign the declaration Friday, after he signed an emergency declaration for the state five days ago.
The president also said he plans to visit Texas, but wants to wait until his presence won't be a burden or hinder the disaster relief response.
"I plan on going," Mr. Biden said of a possible trip to Texas, adding that he'll wait on the timing and doesn't want to be a "burden" during the ongoing relief efforts.
Texas is under a state of emergency after a winter storm cut off power and created water problems for millions of Texans. Conditions continue to be freezing, and the death count related to the storm continues to climb. Hospitals have treated hundreds for exposure to the cold and for carbon monoxide poisoning as Texans use generators and cars in desperate attempts to stay warm.
Some 12 million people are under notices to boil their water, according to the state.
Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is dealing with the fallout from leaving his state for Mexico in the middle of the crisis. Cruz returned from his very brief trip to Cancun on Thursday, cutting short a trip that CBS News has reported was booked until Saturday. He has called the trip a "mistake."