Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA
August 27th, 2011
03:59 PM ET
3 years ago

Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA

(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.


Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • Ron Paul
soundoff (1,050 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    One more thing...if today's FEMA had been an agency during the Galvaston hurricane I'm pretty confident the loss of life would have been significantly smaller.

    August 28, 2011 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  2. tom

    What he suggests is radical. But value of his view-point is that he brings in to focus that the purpose of FEMA, other government organisations and government itself is to serve people (not other way around). He questions efficiency, results and does it serve it's purpose.
    If not, his answer is radical – close it down. In my opinion it would be better to rethink and change organisations so they serve their true purpose (they do have one).
    But still – he is only one who has the courage to question how and why of the establishments organisation. And anyway as I understand only thing that president can do all by himself is to declare a war – since there is no danger of him doing that, I would love to see him in the White House. He is an honest man and would force the others out of their comfortable smooth talk and bring in-depth discussions of the real issues.

    August 28, 2011 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  3. Emmy Skaddittle

    Ron Paul, is the chief loon in the republican party. he is only in the race to make the real republican candidates look sane

    August 28, 2011 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  4. shawnl

    The problem with FEMA during Katrina, was that President Bush staffed it with his lickspittles and lackies who had no qualifications to run the agency. How funny that so many conservatives forget this fact.

    August 28, 2011 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  5. shawnl

    If Jesus Christ was alive today, what political party would he belong to? Sure wouldnt be republicans.

    August 28, 2011 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  6. Roy Atkinson

    Some readers might find of interest an Aug. 27 piece on the progressive site AlterNet by Adele Stan entitled "Treat Ron Paul with extreme caution." Her point is that Paul has many far-out opinions that deserve closer attention.

    August 28, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. dave76

    state and local governments do fine protecting citizens in disasters. when the feds come into play there's too much waste and not enough results. truth is, if americans would act like americans we wouldn't need fema at all.

    August 28, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  8. Look past the code words

    FEMA is federal. That means that people whom have no idea of the terrain, temperament of the people, elevation, layout... These people have never been to your area before. It is a fallacy to believe that these people would be better equipped to handle ANY emergency.

    FEMA goes against most any ideal that the federal government teaches its employees. Any military member knows that. Months can be spent getting used to temperature, oxygen levels, terrain and a plethora of other things. FEMA obviously doesn't go to war but it is the same idea. No sailor, marine, soldier or airmen would go into a fight blind. Why should people that are supposed to care and save lives? Why keep those people employed in that capacity when the money currently used to fund FEMA could be divided to the states to start their own disaster relief plans? Why can't people do at a local level what the people working for FEMA do poorly?

    If FEMA didn't exist there would be something to take its place. The Market ALWAYS finds a way. If one were to think that the government is AT ALL compassionate about them they should try going to the DMV, DSHS or any other government office. Those government employees don't care about their charges. A more localized aid program is what any free society needs.

    August 28, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  9. david conner

    I agree with Ron Paul. Local and state governments are more than sufficient. The federal government is way too involved in our lives, at great cost in dificit spending, with another wasteful bureaucracy sitting around in D.C. waiting for another Katrina or Irene. In worst cases, a governor could appeal to other states for help, not needing the feds, saving taxpayers billions in the national debt crisis.

    August 28, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  10. tomato

    Fact..people who make minimum wage do not have the safety net for themselves properly. Ron Paul is fearful of a Social Democratic style of government. Corporations and people on their own cannot be trusted, but good government with proper checks and balances are the only way to reign in spending of medical overcharges. If you don't like government go to Somalia.

    August 28, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  11. truthman

    Whoever put up the FEMA sign needs a little education in proper positioning. And the name placards on the table in front of each bigwig smacks of hubris. FEMA, scheema. GO RON PAUL!

    August 28, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  12. Rich39

    Why do republicans always compare the year 1900 with the year 2011. HELLOOO a few things has changed in the past 111 years.
    I get e mail from my conservative/republicans friends and family talking about how great it was in 1900(111 years ago) Didn't have the taxes back then we have now. Don't they realize a few things have changed in the last 111 years.
    By the way, most of them were not living ...111 years ago. Was Ron Paul living in 1900?

    August 28, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  13. Brian Macker

    So unlike every other congressman he doesn't funnel federal dollars to his state where it is bad for the country overall.

    August 28, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  14. roland

    You've got to get over your hate of federal government. To realize that the 1900 is not TODAY. Neither is 1800 or 1776. If you believe you could rebuild with private industry say insurance companies your sadly mistaken. For everyone that hates the US government in those areas they hate INSURANCE COMPANIES MORE. Stop with the half truths.

    August 28, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. buckup

    @john, we do not need government???
    Try reading just the first sentence of the US constitution.
    If you find this disageeable do not call youself, or people like you, "US CITIZENS".
    Move, find your green acres in Somalia. Start a non-governmental militia to manage al queda.
    Bring Beck to stockpile food to feed your private militia.
    Pay no taxes, leave America forever and do not come back.

    August 28, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. Me 2

    We don't need Ron Paul. The GOP is a bunch of screw balls.

    August 28, 2011 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  17. Lazzee

    Same as Mr. Paul wouldn't need the White House, The Service protection, The Beast, Air Force One, and everything that comes with Presidency, if he becomes a President.

    August 28, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  18. Barry from Wisconsin

    Figures…..just what would expect from a right-wing nutcase. As long as it does not affect me (directly) the devil with other people.

    August 28, 2011 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  19. 1776Liberal

    I'm not a Ron Paul support who happens to have lived in the Gulf and/or Atlantic hurricane zones almost all of my 55 yrs. He's right about getting rid of FEMA. The money was horribly wasted following Katrina in the MS & LA areas.

    Multi-millions of dollars went to developers who live over 100 miles from the Coast areas while coastal county rebuilding struggles 6 yrs later.

    August 28, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. modiphyd

    This is just another example of why Ron Paul will get my vote. Pop the govt. teet out of your mouth, and get the power at the state and local level to take care of yourself. You don't need a Bureau Of Toilet Paper to wipe your own ass.

    August 28, 2011 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  21. Ken in NC

    Ron Paul is a government we can do without.

    August 28, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  22. jimatmadison

    Ron Paul has officially gone senile.

    August 28, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  23. JasonP

    FEMA's effectiveness, just like the FDA's and the EPA's is dependent on the administration in power. I agree they were terrible under the Republicans administrations but they are highly effective under the Democratic ones.

    August 28, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  24. Spiritwalker

    The rich telling the poor we dont need help.
    You will take our tax money, but wont use it on us when we need it.
    I DONT THINK SO.
    You can lump the GOP, the tea party, and the libertarians
    under one banner...."THE RICH PARTY" !!

    August 28, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  25. Ace

    What is missed is that FEMA was created because the states and local authroities we NOT able to handle disater situations and were constantly truning to the Federal Government for help. For all the good that FEMA has done, the handling of Katrina under the Bush administration was poor at best. FEMA was not fully deployed unit after the desaster and at that point, didn't know where to begin. However, local governments did little to help in preperation and waited to be saved, so the fault is on both. Lesons learned have both local governments and FEMA working together in better preperation. The outcome of Irene wil be the true test!

    August 28, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
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