The Democratic governor will be making his way through a phalanx of Republicans who control the purse strings. Edwards was in Washington to attend the winter meeting of the National Governors Association but is using that opportunity to meet with members of the new administration.
Included will be a meeting with President Donald Trump where he will seek the president’s help in obtaining more federal funding for the state. Edwards is also expected to meet with FEMA Administrator Robert Fenton about flood and tornado recovery money as well.
Secretary Tom Price of the Department of Health and Human Services is also on Edwards’ itinerary. The governor’s office said he plans to stress the effects of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana. More than 400,000 people have enrolled in the expanded health care program since expansion went into effect July 1, under an executive order Edwards signed.
Edwards was also expected to meet with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and the new Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney to discuss the state’s response to last year’s floods.
Louisiana has been granted nearly $1.7 billion from the federal government to aid the recovery so far. Edwards is asking for $2 billion more. That may be a hard sell with the new administration.
Edwards will also participate in his first meeting of the Council of Governors, an appointment made by then-President Barack Obama last year. It is a bipartisan body created to help coordinate state and federal efforts regarding the National Guard, homeland defense, and defense support to civil authorities.