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King, Midwest lawmakers want Obama to tour flood damage
U.S. Rep. Steve King and four additional Midwestern lawmakers have penned a letter to President Obama, requesting that he also make time to tour the historic flooding along the Missouri River when he visits Iowa next week.
The White House has now officially announced that President Obama will visit Alcoa’s Davenport Works on Tuesday as part of the launch of a new high-tech manufacturing initiative.“Since President Obama will be in eastern Iowa on June 28, I think he should extend his trip so that he can travel to the western side of the state to visit communities along the Missouri River that are being ravaged by flooding,” King said. “These communities are in need of federal recovery resources, and it is important that the President personally understand the severity of the flood-related damage so that he can better direct the federal government’s response.”
Many rural areas and communities along the Missouri River are undergoing severe flooding due to heavy rains and snow melt from states further north. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to release additional water through dams, some of which have not had this many gates activated in more than 50 years. It is expected that tens of thousands of acres of crop land will be flooded, and federal regulators continue to closely monitor two nuclear power stations caught in the flood’s wake.
Many federal officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, have toured and continue to monitor the natural disaster, but King believes there are many reasons why Obama should make a personal visit.
“It is also important for the President to view these communities so that he can offer comfort and support to people who are losing their homes, businesses and property to this flood,” King said. “The rising water is redirecting the lives of thousands of people along the Missouri River, and they need to know that the President understands their plight.”
If Obama agrees to the request, King has pledged that he will work with other area lawmakers to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the visit.
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers has also requested that Obama visit the Rock Island Arsenal during his Iowa stop. The Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center located within the Arsenal and home to about 1,800 area jobs was at one point rumored for possible closure or relocation by Army officials.
The letter sent by the Missouri River basin lawmakers is embedded below: