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What we know about President Joe Biden’s visit to Texas veterans on Tuesday

President Joe Biden, Oct. 18, 2021, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

President Joe Biden will visit the Fort Worth VA Clinic Tuesday before he delivers remarks at Tarrant County Resource Connection about expanding access to health care and benefits for veterans affected by environmental exposures, according to the White House.

His trip to Cowtown comes after the president last week announced a four part “Unity Agenda for the Nation” during his state of the union address. Part of the agenda — the section that brings him to Fort Worth — addresses support for veterans.

Biden is expected to arrive at Naval Air Station Fort Worth. At the VA Clinic, he’ll be briefed on the primary care and specialty health services for veterans.

Much of Biden’s plan to support veterans discussed in his speech on March 1 focuses on soldiers’ exposure to toxic smoke from burn pits. The military used the pits in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn tires, batteries and medical waste.

“And they come home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors, never the same — headaches, numbness, dizziness, a cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin,” Biden said during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

During the address, he called on Congress to ensure “veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they deserve.” He said the VA is pioneering ways of linking toxic exposures to disease and announced expanded eligibility to veterans with nine respiratory cancers.

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat, plans to attend events with Biden during the president’s visit, a spokesperson said. U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, a Fort Worth Republican, is not expected to appear with Biden. According to her office, she is “managing the Appropriations bill on House Floor this week here in Washington.”

Biden’s popularity

Biden has seen dropping approval in Texas over the past year, according to a poll from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The February poll found that 52% of those surveyed disapproved of his performance compared to 44% in February 2021. Among Democrats, his approval rating was 76% in the most recent survey, but among Republicans it was at 6%.

Despite his waning popularity, director of the Texas Politics Project Jim Henson noted that veterans issues will have a broader appeal in the state than some of the president’s other agenda items.

There are an estimated 1.4 million veterans in Texas and roughly 42,000 in Fort Worth, according to U.S. Census Data.

How will President Joe Biden’s visit affect Fort Worth traffic?

The White House said to expect more traffic during his visit, but exactly how roads will be affected, including potential closures, is unclear.

Last presidential visit

Former President Donald Trump visited Johnson County in October 2019 to celebrate the opening of a Louis Vuitton workshop. That night, he hosted a rally in Dallas.

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(c) 2022 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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