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tv   President Obama Visits Baton Rouge Louisiana  CSPAN  August 23, 2016 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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talks about his recent feature augments secretary of state hillary clinton the failing to go after boko haram because of past divisions made by nigerian -- past donations made to the clinton campaign light nigerian millionaires. join the discussion. >> here is what is ahead tonight on c-span. president obama visits louisiana and discusses relief for flood victims. green party presidential candidate jill stein talks to reporters at the national press club. attend our issue spotlight on the 2016 campaign election and voting rights. -- theut -- louise minority whip steve scalise was not there, but tweeted on twitter and facebook, commenting the role of chefs, tweeting an article for the times-picayune.
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he is talking about an article reporting on the efforts of chefs in louisiana. the headline, how new orleans chefs said 50,000 meals to victims in a week." it would not be louisiana without a crawfish tank. 1400 gallon crawfish tank for cooking oil in the bank soups. -- boil in the bag soups. can find more tweets at twitter.com/c-span. 2 weeks from today, both the house and senate will return from their summer recess. a full agenda for what will probably be a short session. they are back on tuesday the sixth. the agenda includes federal spending for fiscal year 2017. prevention research programs for the zika virus, and defense policy. also it's possible the house could consider impeaching iris
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commissioner john cosco -irs commissioner. it's possible they may take up some emergency funding for the floods in the louisiana. you will hear about that in the upcoming video with president obama. he was in louisiana, specifically baton rouge in zachary, where he spoke about efforts of state officials. he was joined by a number of members of congress. he talked about the efforts of fema. [indiscernible]
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>> what's going on, guys? [indiscernible] >> good to see you. i assume you guys have been busy. [indiscernible] [laughter]
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[indiscernible] [laughter] [indiscernible] pres. obama: we will be sure to have that happen. everyone is all lined up? let's get this done.
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one, another member of congress here. to begin with, i just want to say thank you to the outstanding officials behind me who has been on the ground working 24/7 since this flood happened. it begins with outstanding leadership from the top, with the governor john bel edwards, and we very much appreciate all the outstanding work he has done, his better half, first lady of louisiana, i know has been by his side every step of the way. we are grateful for her. i know they have their own cleaning up to do because the governor's mansion was flooded as well. in addition, i want to acknowledge senator bill cassidy senator david bitter, , reverted gary graves representative cedric richmond, , the mayor of baton rouge kip holden, and somebody who i
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cannot brag enough about, one of the best hires i have made as president, the administrator of fema, craig fugate, who has done such an outstanding job not just with this particular incident but has really rebuilt fema so , that there is a change of culture. everybody knows that when a disaster happens, fema will be on the ground cooperating with state and local officials rapidly and with attention to detail and keeping the families who have been affected uppermost in their minds. we very much appreciate everything craig has done. it is hard for craig to be here, by the way, because he is a florida gator, and he has been seeing a lot of lsu t-shirts passing by. i had a chance to see some of the damage from the historic floods here in louisiana.
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i come here, first and foremost, to say the prayers of the entire nation are with everybody who lost loved ones. we are heartbroken by the loss of life. there are also people who are still desperately trying to track down friends and family. we will keep on helping them every way we can. as anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people's lives have been upended by this flood. local businesses have suffered terrible damage. families have, in some cases, lost homes. they have certainly lost possessions, priceless keepsakes. i was just speaking to a young woman whose husband died shortly after the birth of her second child.
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talking about how her daughter was trying to gather all of the keepsakes she had in her bedroom that reminded her of her father. that gives you some sense that this is not just about property damage. it is about people's roots. you also have a situation where there are a lot of kids that were supposed to start a new school year, and they will need some special help and support our a while. sometimes when things happen, it can seem like too much to bear, but i want the people of louisiana to know is you are not alone on this, even after the tv cameras leave. the whole country will continue to support you and help you, until we get folks back in their homes, and lives are rebuilt. the reason i can say that with confidence is because that is what americans do in times like this. i saw it when i visited this place, when i came down here as
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a senator after katrina. i saw it when i visited new orleans for the 10th anniversary last year. i know how resilient the people of louisiana are, and i know that you will rebuild again. what i have seen again today proves it. i want to thank all the first responders, the national guard, all the good neighbors who were in a boat going around, making sure people were safe, showing extraordinary heroism, and in some cases, risking their own lives. governor edwards, the city, the parish government have all steps of under incredibly difficult circumstances. i just want to thank the people on this block. as i was walking down, one woman at the end, elderly, she was on her own. she had just lost her daughter. a young man next door was helping his father but also offered to help out that neighbor, so that she could
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salvage as much as she could and start the process of rebuilding. with respect to the federal response, a week ago, i directed the federal government to mobilize and do everything we could help. fema administrator craig fugate arrived a week ago to help in that effort. homeland security secretary jeh johnson visited last week to make sure state and local officials are getting what they need. to give you a sense of the magnitude of the situation, more than 100,000 people have applied for federal assistance so far. as of today, federal support has reached $127 million. that is for help like temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs, and flood insurance payments. fema is also working with louisiana around the clock to help people displaced by floods find temporary housing. any louisiana family that needs help, you can find your nearest
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disaster recovery center by visiting fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-fema. i am going to repeat that. fema.gov, or 1-800-621-fema. federal assistance alone will not be enough to make people's lives whole again, so i'm asking every american to do what you can to help get families and local businesses back on their feet. if you want to help, governor edwards put together some ways to start at volunteerlouisiana.gov. that is volunteerlouisiana.gov. the reason this is important, even though federal money is moving out, volunteer help actually helps the state because it can offset some of its costs. obviously, private donations are going to be extremely important as well. we want to thank the red cross for everything they are doing, but there are a lot of private
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philanthropic organizations, churches, parishes around the state and country who want to help as well. that is how we are going to make sure that everybody is able to get back on their feet. let me just remind folks, sometimes once the floodwaters pass, people's attention spans pass. this is not a one-off, this is not a photo op issue. this is how to make sure of one month from now, six months from now, people are still getting the help they need. i need all americans to stay focused on this. if you are watching this today, make sure that you find out how you can help. go to volunteerlouisiana.gov or fema.gov. you can even go to whitehouse.gov, and we will direct you.
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these are some good people down here. i am glad to families i have a chance to meet were safe, but they have a lot of work to do. they should not have to do it alone. thank you very much, everybody. god bless. >> thank you mr. president. >> [inaudible] president obama: we discussed that on the way here. what you have here is the stafford act provides a certain match. a lot of the homes have flood insurance, but a lot do not. what craig fugate is doing, what i instructed him to do from the start is, let's get money out as fast as we can, because we know there will be a certain amount of assistance forthcoming. there is no point in waiting. we have to make initial estimates and start pushing stuff out.
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that helps us and the governor, and all these officials here do their jobs. then what we have to do, as we fine-tune what is needed, when we know, for example, how much permanent housing will need to be built. when we have a better sense of how much infrastructure has been damaged. what more we need to do in terms of mitigation strategies. that is when congress, i think, may be called upon to do more. the good news is, you have four members of congress here. a number of that happened to be in the majority, so i suspect they may be able to talk to the speaker, mitch mcconnell. in part, because of the fine stewardship at fema, and frankly, because we have been a little lucky so far -- and i'm going to knock on wood in terms of the money coming out this year -- fema has enough money now for the cost to be absorbed.
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the issues will be less what we need to do in terms of paying for the short-term. it will be the medium term and long-term rebuilding. congress should be back in session right after labor day. by that time, we will have a better assessment. in the meantime, lawyers at fema will be examining what statutory flexibility we have got. i know the governor has been on top of making sure louisiana gets everything it can get in order to rebuild. >> do you worry about this trip becoming politicized? president obama: no, i do not. first of all, one of the benefits of being five months short of leaving here, i do not worry too much about politics. the second thing i have seen, historically, when disasters strike, that is one of the few times where washington tends not to get political. i guarantee you, nobody on this
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block, none of those first responders, nobody gives a hoot whether you are democrat or republican. what they care about is making sure they are getting the drywall out, carpet out, there is not any mold building, they get some contractors in here and start rebuilding as quick as possible. that is what they care about. that is what i care about. we want to make sure we do it right, we do it systematically, but the one thing i just want to repeat is how proud i am of fema. because if you think about the number of significant natural disasters that have occurred since my presidency began, you would be hard-pressed to find a local official anywhere in the country, including those in the other party, who would not say that craig fugate eight and his team have been anything less than exemplary and professional.
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one of the things i did when i walk through each of these homes was asked, have you contacted fema, have you filed? uniformly, they said that they had been in touch with fema, they had acted professionally, some had been out for inspections. i think that does indicate why it is important for us to take the federal government seriously, federal workers seriously. there is a tendency sometimes to bash them and to think that they are these faceless bureaucrats. but when you get into trouble, you want somebody who knows what they are doing, who is on the ground working with outstanding officials, and that is true whatever party. i could not be prouder of the work that fema has done. that does not mean that there will not be folks who need more
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help, that will not have some constraints statutorily, and congress will need to step up, but it means the basic infrastructure and architecture we have in terms of disaster response, i think, has been high-quality. i am very proud of them for that and i want to publicly in knowledge -- acknowledge them for that. thank you guys. >> [inaudible] pres. obama: can you let us see your yard? we have to have the podium. you get on one side, you get on the other. that way, we can look like we are giving a press conference together. how are you all doing?
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do you have video on that? do you have the drywall out and all that? [indiscernible] sure?e on, you [laughter] ok. tell me when you are ready. i want to wish you a happy birthday. everything is going to be ok. mom and dad have this covered.
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the president has your back. have a wonderful birthday celebration. thank you. >> god bless you. thank you, alright. [indiscernible]
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