As President Biden tours the massive damage here in Kentucky, here's a reminder that the sheer cost of clean-up from Saturday's tornado outbreak here in the Bluegrass state is going to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars at the minimum, if not billions.
Kentucky’s recovery from last weekend’s historic tornado outbreak will take “months if not years,” and cost “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to public officials and experts who are still assessing the full scale of the loss and damage.
“Tens of thousands are still dealing with water, gas, or power outages. Families are in shock and grief over the loss of loved ones,” said Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday. “Rebuilding the areas of Kentucky leveled by this storm will take months, if not years, to complete.”
On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said he expected the price tag of a full recovery to be “in the hundreds of millions of dollars at least.”
But the exact amount won’t be known for a while, as government officials and emergency workers continue to focus on searches for the more than 100 who are still missing and providing shelter, food and medical attention to those who have been displaced. The death toll in Kentucky remains at 74.
McConnell reported that at Fort Campbell, FEMA has already supplied 61 generators, 74,000 meals, 135,000 liters of water and thousands of cots and blankets.
“Kentucky will come back from this bigger and better than ever before,” McConnell said. “I will make sure the Senate provides all the assistance we can to make that a reality.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NPR that food, water, communications and shelter were the primary needs of Kentucky residents following his visit to the state.
“We have been going family to family, individual to individual to learn what has happened to each individual and what we can do about it,” Mayorkas said. But he cautioned that several of the hardest hit portions of western Kentucky will require patience for long-term rebuilding efforts.
“Homes need to be rebuilt, schools need to be operating once again, businesses need to be rebuilt and restarted. It really means building a community from the ground up,” he said.
It's mildly perverse that McConnell is promising aid, he's not the Senate Majority Leader at all and really has no say in what legislation comes up, but he could sure block aid if he wanted to. At least for his state, he won't. That would be too much even for him to keep his job.
He'll block billions for the rest of the country though, count on that.
He'll also block any climate change and coal plant regulation, so we'll get to repeat this dance until it kills enough people for us to vote people like him out of the Senate, I guess.