(CNN) - As Hurricane Irene barrels along the U.S. East Coast, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said the nation would be much better off without the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"I live on the Gulf Coast. We put up with hurricanes all the time," the GOP presidential candidate told CNN after a New Hampshire campaign event Friday. "There's no magic about FEMA. More and more people are starting to recognize that."
Paul has long been a critic of the agency, which he calls a "great contributor to deficit financing."
With more than 7,600 employees, FEMA falls under the Department of Homeland Security and coordinates response efforts when disasters strike.
Citing the Galveston hurricane in 1900 that obliterated much of the Texas coast, the libertarian-leaning congressman said Americans were able to rebuild their cities and put up a seawall without the federal government's help.
"FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas," Paul said. "All they do is come in and tell you what to do and can't do. You can't get in your houses. And they hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in."
After Hurricane Ike demolished parts of the Texas coast in 2008, Paul voted against a bill that would funnel billions in aid to the area, which covers his congressional district.
FEMA has since pumped more than $3 billion in federal funds into the state.
The agency received wide criticism in 2005 for failing to respond in a timely, organized manner to the vast destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.
FEMA gives the average citizen, well nothing. But it only costs $14Trillion. Cause it's government, we should bloat, I mean, fund it.
Does anyone really listen to this racist little twit Paul?
The guy has so many good things to say but you never cover them. But you would sensationalize one thing that may get him maximum negative point. What happened to covering the ideas without prejudice. SHAME ON YOU. If he says FEMA is useless you may require a guy with some high brain cell density over the shoulder to analyze it in more than three paragraphs. whatever Mr. Paul has talked about for so many years have been proven correct. I supported Obama in 2008 but will be standing in rain for Ron Paul this if need be. I think our nation is ready for some unpolished truth. Is the media ready to look beyond a narrow scope? I am starting to feel that everything including integrity of journalism has been sold in America. It is a sad day if that is the case.
I bet when the writer was writing this he thought it would be a great way to make Ron Paul look bad. Glad to see it isn't working!
I will be voting for Ron Paul.
Thankfully, this nutjob will never be President.
The cookie truck will come back for the rest of the cuckoo birds who agree with ole ron the paul. What a country of insanity.
Ron Paul is the man!! Way to tell the truth. It's a hard pill to swallow as witnessed by the comments on this board. They keep calling him "nutty" yet the practices that brought our country to near destruction is completely normal! haha... that's why he is surging in the polls; people are starting to wake up. Nice try mainstream media!
All they did after Katrina was illegally confiscate everyone's guns. FEMA is a joke!
Ron Paul is correct. FEMA is just another inefficient big government program. It should be handled at the local and state level. Ron Paul 2012
And people who support this guy wonder why he's not getting the press coverage. He also wonders if Ft Knox still has its gold.
I say, Ron. if you're worried that much about it, go down there and have a look. Take your time....please!
Marcus, what does your church know about the needs of the people. God was already on top of things with FEMA. All you and your church would have done was got in the way. Period.
FEMA is horribly inefficient at providing emergency relief. Look at their response to Katrina. No more needs to be said.
Instead of relying on incompetent federal bureaucrats to take care of us, why not rely on our states? There is no reason to -not- demonopolize/centralize and localize disaster relief.
Ron Paul (correctly!!!) thinks disasters are better handled by charity and the free market, by free human cooperation, rather than by a gang of armed government agents taking the mafia approach.
Ron Paul is right. More power to the people and less power to "the deciders who somehow know what's best for everyone as a whole". Thanks CNN for finally giving this man some coverage. He's smart and absolutely what this country needs. Kudos!
Maybe he is right someone said lol go join his circus then!
@elaine – the united states? are you serious? the line between state and federal are so blurred right now that its hard to tell that we are actually individual states anymore – you seem to think that our history supports things staying the way they are currently but that has only been the case in the latter half the the past century – obviously these programs aren't working and can't be sustained – so unless you're willing to pay up over $30000 a year to sustain these programs (as well as weevers other american), its not going to work – we need to recognize when something is broken and try something different – whats the worst thing that is going to happen if ron gets in? we still have representatives in washington working – he's not going to be a dictator – he's only going to put into place what we as a people have our representatives pursue (by majority) – why not try it different – fi you don't like it – hell, we've got another election 4 years later! thats the beauty of it – just like we all expected the most from obama, but we've been disappointed – we don't have to keep living with that decision – its time to change it up – whats the big deal? if the last 4 years didn't kill you- i'm sure the next probably won't either – don't be such a pessimist
How Sad! Another angry ignorant old man!
If he ever becomes president we will need FEMA because after he is done, the whole bloody country will be a disaster area.
I always respect Ron Paul for his ideological purity, he's definitely no politician, but he nonetheless has horribly ineffective ideas. I always joke that Ron Paul's policies were obsolete at the turn of the 20th century, so it tickles me pink that the example he uses for why FEMA is useless is to cite an even from over 110 years ago! Obviously, things have change, and so things like getting rid of FEMA, the federal reserve and the gold standard, while they worked in the 1800s, won't work in the 21st century.
You have to give it to Paul, he's no politician, he talks the talk and walks the walk.
FEMA does alot more than disaster relief. FI; If there were a sudden outbreak of a fatal and contageous desease FEMA is the first responder. They havent been great at their job lately but they are necessary.
Anybody that's ever relied on FEMA will back Ron Paul up on this one. Any non-government organization that got that kind of funding would run rings around those incompetent knuckleheads. Don't kid yourself, it doesn't matter who is in the White House – this agency needs to be disbanded.
He's right on this. Our area was hit by mega tornado's 4 months ago. Before FEMA set up shop, people were volunteering in droves. They were clearing debris, sifting thru belongings for salvageable and personal items for home owners, cooking food for the volunteers. Then FEMA took over. Instead of showing up and getting to work, you had to register at a central location miles away. People stood in lines for hours waiting to register and many gave up. If you didn't have a food permit, you could no longer cook for your neighbors & other volunteers. There were strict limitations on what you could and couldn't do. So, 4 months later debris still remains.
Looks like these old folks don't need Gov't or FEMA either!
President Obama signs disaster declaration for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Irene.
Like anything, I think FEMA can always look to make improvements. Get ride of it completely? Give me a break...yeah, let's cut government services to the people who need it...spoken like a Republican.