New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Biden points to wildfires to push for big rebuild


President Joe Biden on Monday pointed up close to wildfires burning through the West to argue for his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plans, calling year-round fires and other extreme weather a climate change reality the nation can no longer ignore.

Aiming to boost support for his big rebuilding plans, the president said every dollar spent on “resilience” would save $6 in future costs. And he said it must go beyond simply restoring damaged systems and instead ensure communitie­s can withstand catastroph­ic weather that doesn’t strike based on partisan ideology.

“It’s not a Democrat thing. It’s not a Republican thing. It’s a weather thing,” he said. “It’s a reality. It’s serious and we can do this.”

The president’s two-day Western swing comes at a critical juncture for a central plank of his legislativ­e agenda. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working to assemble details of the infrastruc­ture-plus plan - and how to pay for it, a concern not just for Republican­s. A key Democratic senator said Sunday that he will not vote for a package so large.

The president issued his plea about climate change during a briefing at the National Interagenc­y Fire Center in Boise, which coordinate­s the government’s wildfire response.

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