Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request denied
May 4th, 2011
05:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request denied

(CNN)- Gov. Rick Perry continued his tirade against President Obama late Tuesday, when the administration's decision to deny his request for a disaster declaration for the state of Texas was finalized.

Perry requested a declaration from the president in mid-April to clear the way for federal funding and assist in state efforts to fight wildfires that have burned over 2.2 million acres of land.

"I am dismayed that this administration has denied Texans the much needed assistance they deserve," Perry said, in a statement. "It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency."

And for Perry, the issue may not be settled.

"We will immediately look at all of our options, including appealing the denial, so Texans can receive the resources and support they need as wildfires continue to threaten life and property across our state," he continued.

The Republican governor, who's made no secret of his displeasure with President Obama in the past, went on to list actions that state government has taken to aid residents in distress including deploying Texas Forest Service personnel to assist with multiple fires, Texas Military Forces to help with fire suppression, and the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.

Perry sought additional federal assistance through a Major Disaster Declaration which must be approved by the president.

But, while the request was being reviewed, the state wasn't exactly left in the lurch.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved 25 fire management assistance grants in April, specifically designed to support firefighting efforts. They cover 75 percent of the state's emergency response work for each fire, according to FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen who objected to Perry's claims of neglect in a statement Wednesday.

"This administration, through FEMA, has been working closely with the state throughout the duration of these fires, and we are supporting the firefighting efforts," she said.

"Based on the information the state provided to FEMA through this process, it was determined that there was not a need for additional support at this time as the federal assistance is already being provided to Texas for response activities in the form of the Fire Management Assistance Grants."

By federal law, requests for disaster declarations are reviewed based on whether needs of the state are beyond what state and local governments can handle. But Perry insists a disaster declaration is imperative to his state's ability to battle wildfires. And according to FEMA, it is not.

With Perry's threat to appeal, the fight could be prolonged. But Racusen promised, "We will continue to work closely with the state and local emergency management officials as their efforts to contain these fires continue."


Filed under: President Obama • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Susan

    I thought Texas is in good shape financially per the last election that he won. The federal government sholld stay out of state's business is what this governer advocates. Were you not calling for seccession from the good old USA not very long ago. The federal government can't just be called on to relieve your financial mess Governer Perry, it has it;s own deficit to worry about, remember you are one of the main ones pointing this out. The federal government has already given financial assistance on these fires through the fire mgmt assistance grants. Enough is enough. I have sympathy for all the homeowners but this is the time for Governer Perry to step up and handle his emergency, it's what he gets paid for.

    May 4, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Antonio

    So now Mr. Perry wants federal funds! Not that I don't care for the people of Texas, but I find it ironic that the man who rails against Washington is now begging for its support. Can we say, Ironic!

    May 4, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. jerseylou

    Perry.....ask some of your Billionaire Friends that lived in that Rich State of Texas to donate. I can see them now busting your eardrums wide open by slamming the phone down on you. BTW are you sure you're not Mexican ? Just the Photo, nothing against Mexicans.

    May 4, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Doug

    Hey Rick, how's the whole secession, the feds are bad, states rights are good, thingy working for you? Now stfu and get back to work, traitor.

    May 4, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    So...these guys want to diminish the Federal government by greatly reducing its power, but when disaster strikes, guess who they run to?

    May 4, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Duke13

    A few months ago Rick Perry was talking about Texas secession from the U.S. Now he wants federal aid. What a hypocrite.

    May 4, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Isnt this the man who wanted to succeed from the United States? Now he is complaining the United States wont pay 100% of his state's costs? Interesting. At least he has good hair.

    May 4, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. henry

    Governor, you have hounded this President with everything you could and now you come hat in hand. Put that hat back on your head and move along. Take care of yourself. You don't want the federal government involved in state business. Well, there you have it. No federal meddling in your state. Run along now, little pouter boy, run along.

    May 4, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Sgt Schultz

    Typically Confederate hypocrite. First he talks about leaving the Union and not wanting any federal $. Then he complains about not getting enough. Perry need to first fund his OWN state for fire-fighters so Texans won't see their homes go up in flame and watch in horror as their livestock or pets dies...if someone doesn't pay their "fee" aka tax.

    May 4, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. bj

    Why on earth would Perry want to request Federal Funds. I thought his crew didn't want Goverment to do anything. Particularly a Goverment that is headed by President Barack Hussein Obama. I thought Texas was planning to succeed. What a hippocrit.

    May 4, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  11. Mtnjim

    Wasn't too long ago Texas was screaming about the Federal Government getting out of their state, talking about seceding from the union and so forth. . Sounds like they're getting what they wanted, but noooo, now they want the Federal Government to send them lots of money

    May 4, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom(real one)

    SO WHAT? They have received plenty of aid. Let the far-right-Texans be SELF-SUFFICIENT like the want the rest of the country to be!

    May 4, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. x-rev

    OK Gov Perry, I get it now. It is irresponsible for government to be spending money it doesn't have unless it involves your state!?! If you are given this money that you are "entitiled" to, does that mean that you will promise to refrain from critizing "big wasteful spending" by the US Government? By the way, are you still considering forming your own little country? Guess you can do everything yourself until a disaster happens.

    May 4, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. emw

    Just a guess, this governor has complained about the federal government spending, but now wants to eat at the federal government trough?

    May 4, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. Chris B

    As a Texan, I'm embarrassed because of Perry. In one hand he constantly gives the middle finger to Obama and the Federal Govt for assistance (such as education – which now he's firing thens of thousands) and in the other he asks for handouts and blames the Fed Govt. when he doesn't get them... he's a spoiled brat.

    May 4, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  16. nintex

    I live in Texas, and this is embarrassing. Perry makes a lot of noise about keeping the federal government out of our business, and then whines when he doesn't get what he said he wouldn't take (although the government has provided money for the fires). By the way, there are a lot of smart, progressive people in Texas, although you wouldn't know it by the politicians we elect.

    May 4, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. FBMarky

    I can't remember California's wild fires ever getting federal disaster relief – even when Barbra Streisand's house was threatened! Poor, poor Texas. Why don't you ask all those oil companies that have been raping your state for the last 100 years to help you out? Remember all those tax breaks you gave them? Time to pony up, cowboys. Besides, no one but texans care about their state. The rest of the country just tries to ignore them.

    May 4, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Dorothy Davis

    Why don't you secede Gov. Perry?

    May 4, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Damien

    Republicans are so quick to starve the public teet, until they want to suck at it.

    May 4, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Zip

    C'mon little Ricky, act like a man, not a boy

    May 4, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Jango

    Ricky boy, don't cry. We need smaller goverment. We don't want goverment in our lives. That what you get. Nothing. let the tea party do something.

    May 4, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. GonzoinHouston

    The irony, or maybe the hypocrisy, is just overwhelming. The local news did not report about the FMAG's, or I just missed it. Never mind the partisan aspects of the politics; Perry has a long history of taking federal money for specific areas and using it to prop up the state budget, which Perry deliberately under-funded.

    May 4, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Well, it's obvious what Perry should do: secede!

    May 4, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Ron

    Hey, if you don't like it you can always secede!! Don't you look the FOOL now. Too bad the good people of Texas have to suffer for your foolishness. I guess that's what they get for voting you into office again. Don't know about you, but my daddy taught me not to bite the hand that feeds you! If you can't handle this as a state, imagine what it would be like as an independent country? LOL. Next time, thik before you open your suck.

    May 4, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Thinks2010

    It sounds like FEMA's paying the bulk of the firefighting costs. What more does Perry want? Texas is a state that regularly experiences large scale wildfires. As such, I would expect the state government would have made provisions for firefighting and handling post fire issues in it's budget and agencies. I would think this would be particularly true of Perry's administration given his stated opposition to federal government participation in the affairs of the states, his claims that Texas would be just fine without the federal government, his Texas secessionist talk, and the republican bootstrap philosophy. I am happy the Obama administration via FEMA is helping out the people of Texas already. If FEMA has determined the state of Texas has made sufficient preparations and provisions to handle the rest, I don't believe any further assistance or federal interference with the State's system or funding should take place. In these tough economic times, I'm glad we could help out with funding and that over thirty states have sent firefighters to help, and I'm sorry we can't do it all. God bless the fine people of Texas and keep them safe.

    May 4, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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