President Joe Biden has travelled to Texas in his first trip to a disaster zone, visiting workers still reeling from a deadly winter storm.
“You’re doing God’s work,” Mr Biden told emergency workers in Houston.
His visit comes as Texas recovers from a massive energy grid failure that left millions without electricity amid an unusually severe cold snap.
Dozens of deaths have been blamed on the cold, but it could take months to determine the full tally, US media say.
The energy disaster, which affected some four million residents, came as Texas was seeing the lowest recorded temperatures in more than three decades earlier this month.
Miles of pipes in the south-western state froze and subsequently burst as homes and businesses that are not often insulated against cold weather lost heat.
Water treatment plants also failed, forcing millions of residents to boil water to disinfect it. Thousands collected snow – rare in the state – and used the water to flush their toilets. Several communities are still under orders to boil their water.
Earlier this week, Mr Biden declared a major disaster in Texas, clearing the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts.
Mr Biden’s homeland security adviser said on Thursday that $9m (£6.5m) had already been allocated for assistance.
The cold weather that set in over the Valentine’s Day weekend has mostly now passed, with temperatures reaching around 78F (26C) in Houston during Mr Biden’s visit.