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La. congressman: Flood victims need to feel heard by DC

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST:  Now to Louisiana Republican Congressman Garret Graves.  He has been pushing for more national attention to the flooding, and it looks like he is going to get it.  You must be pleased with the president's visit.  He's coming Tuesday, just announced.  

REP. GARRET GRAVES, R-LOUISIANA:  I think it's great news.  I think that this is something that a lot of people are really struggling with, watching the president play golf while we're in chest-deep water.  

I know Jeh Johnson has been down here, Homeland Security, Craig Fugate from FEMA.  And that is certainly good.  But I think people really want to see that leadership, that recognition and understand that the White House really appreciates the gravity of the devastation here.  

VARNEY:  Are you expecting the president to bring with him some federal help?  

GRAVES:  Look, this devastation is really incredible, 1,000-year storm event.  

We received over 31 inches of rain in some of our communities.  That's the national annual average for the United States.  So, this isn't some just traditional disaster that occurs on an annual basis.  This really is an extraordinary event.  

VARNEY:  Now, Donald Trump arrived in your area, in your state earlier today.  The media did not give him a very easy time about him being there. I want to show you the headline from Reuters came today.  "Donald Trump Tours Flooded Louisiana in Spite of Governor's Photo-Op Admonishment."

And there was this from The Los Angeles Times: "Donald Trump's Challenge in Touring Louisiana Flooding, Showing Concern, Not Opportunism."  

The media is not exactly enthralled by Donald Trump's visit.  Let's see how they take the president's visit on Tuesday.  

GRAVES:  Look, this isn't a partisan issue.  I would throw a Republican president under the bus if he didn't come down here either.  

There are people that are feeling absolutely devastated right now. Homes flooded.  Cars destroyed.  Businesses flooded.  Schools flooded. This is something where you need to have national leadership, national action in order to really get us out toward a recovery path because many people are not seeing it right now.  

VARNEY:  Congressman, has the flooding stopped or is it receding? Have the rain stopped?  Are things getting better at this point?

GRAVES:  Well, things are getting better in many of the areas.  This water has done some really incredible things.  it's sort of teeter- tottering back and forth, areas flooding, areas draining, flooding again, because some of the areas where it's draining into is beginning to have backwater flooding.

So this has been sort of a repetitive event.  Certainly, overall, we're seeing a good bit of the area draining, but there are some areas in the southern part of the watershed that are continuing to be inundated.  

VARNEY:  Earlier today on Fox Business, I interviewed several people who had been flooded and their homes, they really can't return to them.  I take it that's a story that you're going to be hearing lot of in your area.  

GRAVES:  Absolutely.  

You can imagine homes that have had six, eight, 10 feet of water in them.  That absolutely destroys everything that's in there.  Again, many people's cars, both of their cars also completely flooded, inundated, all the way underwater.  You can't recover from that.  

This is situations where you have to replace absolutely everything or you have to gut the house to the studs and start all over again.  This is going to be a big long-term recovery.  

VARNEY:  Until the president's announcement that he is going on Tuesday, did you feel a little left out?  

GRAVES:  You know, look, Jeh Johnson was down here, Craig Fugate. Certainly good to have a presence from the federal government.  

But, look, the president is the president.  You can't replace the president and the national leadership.  People want to make sure that Washington, D.C., understands what we're going through, how great the devastation is.  And until the president steps in, stops golfing and comes down here, I don't think people are really going to feel like they're heard.  

VARNEY:  Republican Congressman Garret Graves, Louisiana, thanks for joining us, sir.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.   

GRAVES:  You bet.  Thank you.  

VARNEY:  OK.

END

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