Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires
April 29th, 2011
04:08 PM ET
4 years ago

Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires

(CNN)- Republican Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of neglecting Texas Thursday when he slammed the administration for failing to declare a disaster in the wildfire-damaged state.

"You see hundreds of thousands of acres of Texas burning and you know that there will soon be emergency declarations, and we did that now a couple of weeks ago, but still no response from this administration," he told local news radio station WOAI in an interview.

Perry requested a federal declaration for emergency in Texas on April 16 after destruction from wildfires reached 252 counties in the state. An emergency declaration from the president would clear the path for federal aid to Texas.

Obama approved GOP Gov. Robert Bentley's request for emergency federal assistance in Alabama on Wednesday, the same day it was requested, after a wave of tornados ripped through the state. According to FEMA, emergency declarations are made when "an incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond state and local capabilities and that federal assistance is necessary."

Obama visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama Friday, touring damaged regions of the city. He pledged the federal government would "do everything we can to help these communities rebuild."
"I've never seen devastation like this," the president said.

But Perry aired his frustration over what he perceives as a lack of needed attention to Texas, venting, "They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help."

Perry protested what he views as a lack of response from President Obama 13 days after his request for emergency funds, though federal agencies such as the National Park Service have supplied firefighters to support the state.

"There is a point in time where you say, hey, what's going on here. You have to ask why are you taking care of Alabama and other states? I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail."

But an administration official with knowledge of federal assistance provided to Texas tells CNN the state has been already been allocated 16 fire management assistance grants that provide financial support for the specific purpose of fighting fires. Texas has been approved to receive six more grants of this kind to aid state and local governments with firefighting efforts that include equipment, field camps, mobilizing and demobilizing activities. The most recent fire management grant was approved Wednesday.

Perry has also charged Obama with punishing Texas for his open opposition to administration-led reform on health care and the environment, a charge which the president has denied.

Rachel Racusen, a FEMA spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities continuing to be affected by the wildfires in Texas. Governor Perry's request is currently under review, and we will continue our close coordination with the state as they work to protect their residents and communities."

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro contested Perry's claims of neglect, saying, "The administration has greatly been assisting Texas with the fight against the wildfires."


Filed under: President Obama • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Florida Joe

    Come Gov, didn't you say you don't need the Govt's aid?
    Didn't you want to leave the union? Good idea....LEAVE

    April 29, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. lynn

    Texans are so full of themselves, why do they need Fed help? I've never met a modest Texan, now show us how you can live without the rest of the U.S., big mouths to match their 10 gal. hats.

    April 29, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Poser

    He should have hired George W. to clear some of that brush earlier.

    April 29, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Katie B from NC

    Geez, governor, quit whining! You've already received 22 grants to help pay fire management expenses this fire season, including 16 in April alone according to FEMA spokesperson Rachel Racusen. Pretend this a dress rehearsal for when you secede from the Union.

    April 29, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. S.positive

    Hypocrite. Gov, your word is judging you...

    April 29, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Zuma

    Ahh, the irony! Perhap the Governor of Texas has forgotten his well known distaste for Federal assistance.

    April 29, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. GL

    Let the state burn.

    April 29, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. dave

    ISn't this the clown who wanted TX to secede when Bush was President? DOesn't he HATE Federal monies being thrown around? You hypocrite

    April 29, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Mikey

    @ various – We shouldn't let Texas leave the Union. We sould kick their sorry bu+ts out. I would like to see some redirecton of all the Federal dollars that were showered on Texas during the Bush Administration.

    April 29, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. GL

    Republican Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of neglecting Texas Thursday when he slammed the administration for failing to declare a disaster in the wildfire-damaged state.

    USA is broke Perry now pull yourself up by your boots.

    April 29, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. peace

    hey u nut you said you did"t want goverment hand out for the state oftexas. tell your pale bush to give you some of stolen money he got from saddam.

    April 29, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Obama is, always will be my President

    Texas dont take hand out.

    April 29, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. al in memphis

    I though the Texans had succeed from the USA already. Why is he not complaining to Mexico. Or perhaps the new nations call Tea Party.
    Don't worry, the Donald will threaten Opec and force them to help with the wildfires.

    April 29, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. RJ

    Now that he needs federal support, he comes whining...

    April 29, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Eric S.

    Well well well..Running his "south gonna' rise again" mouth while all on th' back of th' bus 'n stuff...

    April 29, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. driftingspecter

    So... the republicans dislike spending federal funding except when they need it.. Somehow it always comes down to that: "Cut money for others out of the budget, not money for us!'

    April 29, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Laverne

    It is funny how Obama is not your president and you encourage the people of Texas to disrespect him and now he is President Obama, we need your help (your federal government help). I feel bad for the people of Texas and even worst that they have a leader who is a big hypocrite. Do whatever you would do if you succeeded from the states!

    April 29, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Ron

    LOL. Be careful what you wish for, govenor! You've said it time and again. "TX doesn't need the Fed gov messing in their business. TX is considering leaving the union. Can't depend on the gov for every little thing." Sound familiar? Now, go back and tell YOUR constituents that YOU screwed the pooch. Tell them that TX really does need the Fed Gov to help out from time-to-time. And, you were wrong to ever suggest TX should leave the union. You're just getting a preview of what the "independent state of TX" would be like. Ain't it fun!!!!

    April 29, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Maybe Perry doesn't realize the money came but it's being used to restore the Governor's Mansion and pay for he, his family, the cooks/maids and staff expense while he's living high on the hog in rental property. Sucessionist Governor Rick Perry doesn't know what's going on in Texas because the local news here in Houston, Texas has been reporting we're receiving Federal aid. Furthermore, Perry who had denied stimulous money saying he would never take it has now accepted it.

    April 29, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. ITALIAN NONNO

    As far as we know there was no loss of life in the Texas wildfires,, trees were burned,.. which can be replanted,... lost lives cannot be replaced,.. and to equate the Texas wildfires to the total devastation of the tornadoes is shameful grandstanding by cowboy Perry. ,normally this dude Perry has no use for the Federal government,.. he's been pushing for Texas to secede from the union ,.. but now you want the Washington cavalry to come to the rescue?.. Take a number,.. get on your horse and put that bravado of yours to work,.. and let those filthy rich Texas oil billionaires come to the rescue.

    April 29, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. drknowsbest

    Typical Tea Party hypocrite. Pull yourself up by the boot straps and stop looking to Washington for solutions. I thought that was his motto

    April 29, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. alfred

    He refused stimilus education money and now his budget cuts education!

    April 29, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    Wow...looks like we're all on the same page on this. Way to make your point Perry...everyone knows you turned down federal money for the poor and unhealthy and now you get no pity from anyone on this. I feel sorry for the people of Texas who need help (health insurance and fire support), but they elected you to represent them. Sigh.

    April 29, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Joe C.

    I live in Texas and this guy denied Texas millions in aide from the Feds because it was only for education. We now have massive layoffs of teachers all because he says, " You can't tell Texas how to spend money." This guy is epic.

    April 29, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. vet in texas

    liar, liar State on fire. Please stop lying Governor, we have facts that say the opposite. Just like the TN liars when the Ol' Opry was flooded, and FEMA was there day one, I guess the people who voted you in for a 3rd time (I didn't ever during your tenure, i knew you were a theif) will believe your unlimited lies.

    April 29, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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