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. Clwyd

    We don't need laws preventing the sale of drugs either according to this man! Don't worry about Americans, but keep to your line of no government is better. Sorry you are sick in the head and the Alzheimer's is starting to show Ron. You are too old to run!

    August 28, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. FEMA.. reality

    When FEMA is ran by a Democratic President... ie Clinton during the 1990s floods.. . FEMA has done a great job, mainly because Democratic administrations appoint great individuals to head FEMA. In Clinton's case it was Witt. Witt made FEMA the jewel of what good government can do. But what happened to FEMA after 2000... it was gutted and made a shell of what it was. A great public manager James Witt was lost and who was put in??? Mike Brown. The reason FEMA was horrible during Katrina wasn't a government issue, it was a Republican inept issue. When will tea bag people learn that government works well when you actually manage it well....and not make it the bad guy and the source of society woes no matter how bad you THINK it is.

    August 28, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. Clwyd

    To Matt, Where did you come up with the fact that, "Most Americans are against FEMA today" I've never seen a poll or read that anywhere? Just more right wing nonsense!

    August 28, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  4. Moses

    @blue J in cali

    Do you work for FEMA by chance???

    JK. If you ever need help in your time of need, I will be there, unless FEMA stops me. I'll come with a hammer and nail instead of a gun with bullets.

    Your fellow American

    August 28, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  5. A

    RE: Pyrometman
    FEMA is supplemental to state aid, meaning that only once a state can't handle an emergency are they brought in. So disasters are ALWAYS handled on a state level first. Sorry to break it to you, but when a large disaster hits, such as the tornadoes that struck AL, most cities/towns couldn't survive without FEMA aid.

    August 28, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. Andrew C

    How can FEMA be blamed for being slow and ineffective? If FEMA weren't needed no one would notice that is was slow and ineffective, am I right? Clearly, the states CANNOT respond to these disasters or FEMA wouldn't be necessary. And for people for saying, state's could save and prepare for disaster. Get real. No state is setting aside a billion dollar reserve "just in case."

    August 28, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    And where did Paul and the President of Texas run to for Hurricane Rita, yep the Federal government, and President Perry even whined he did not get enough when the Feds said to use some of the states 9 BILLION in "rainy day" funds.

    August 28, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Dennis

    Texas tough...take 3 billion in aid and then claim they didn't need it

    August 28, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  9. Dena

    If local governments don't want FEMA to be involved because they can do it better themselves, they don't have to have FEMA come in. THe only way FEMA arrives is because the LOCAL government has ASKED for the federal government to declare their area an emergency so they can get federal help. So everyone saying that local government can do it better can blame their local government for disagreeing and asking for FEMA's help. In fact, part of the reason Katrina was such a failure is becuase the loal govnermnet DIDN"T initially want federal help and wasted a lot of time dithering before deciding what help they wanted from FEMA. Ron Paul's populist sound bites show a pretty

    August 28, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  10. James

    When are people going to stop harping on the mistakes FEMA made in Katrina? Yes, they made mistakes, but the program hasn't learned and changed significantly since then. Give me any institution that hasn't screwed up at one time or another...that doesn't mean it should be completely done away with.

    August 28, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  11. Mike Dallas

    Paul is even starting to look like a heartless maggot.

    August 28, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  12. Chrisg510

    What we dont need is you, ron paul

    August 28, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  13. DJ Central Florida

    Not a parasitic program Paul is all wet as usual. (Please send him back to1900 in another dimension) We got lots of good support from FEMA. We got bottled water ice for over a week after hurricanes Frances and Jean. Later we got MREs for 5 days.
    Blue tarps for roof problems. We paid attention to radio broadcasts and found out where the distribution point was. We also found out we cold buy gas 20 miles away where the storms were weaker. The Katrina fiasco stictly a Republican George Bush problem. Something about a birthday party with MC Cain. That's the storm relief you will get from a Republican president if it's up to him. You are a commoner not a real person.

    August 28, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  14. nolapearl

    If he wants to start dismantling the Federal Government, I believe they should START with dismantling Congress. They are what I would call deficit financing.

    August 28, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Andrew

    A lot of people don't fully understand the CONTEXT of what he's saying. Here is the reality of things: the U.S government needs to start cleaning house as well, and realize where they can save money. Hosting an entirely seperate agency costs money. It can be consolidated into the Homeland Security department, for example. They CAN have a seperate wing!

    August 28, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  16. The Greedy Old PIgs have lost their minds!

    Wow, deanza, you claim the goal should be to "return" government to the size the founders "intended." Please tell us what the "intended" size was/is and how you know this.

    August 28, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  17. Shawn

    Typical right-wing hypocrite. These clowns live in a fantasy world. Why is it that when ANYBODY "tells them what to do" it's some kind of oppression...yet they are ALWAYS telling people what they can and can't do. If Texans were sooooo into freedom and government non-intervention, why isn't gay marriage legal there? Right-wingers WANT the most oppressive and intrusive government imaginable that reaches into the most personal aspects of people's lives, usually based on their idiotic religion which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Just don't tell them that we're phasing to more energy efficient light bulbs! That's OPPRESSION! But the government forcing women to give birth against their will is a perfectly appropriate role for government in the backwards land of Teabagistan. Pigs.

    August 28, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  18. Awesome

    Somalia has very little govt. How is that working out?

    August 28, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. Greg

    I'm with Ron Paul on this one. The states could use the money better than the federal government.

    FEMA doesn't have any money to "pump into" anywhere unless they first took the money from somewhere. If the money is left in the economy work, to grow then we have a better economy and more money to help people with.

    FEMA does get in the way often with volunteer efforts. I've personally tried to volunteer to help in several instances and was told "stay home, we'll let you know if we need help". I have money, time and knowledge to help but they'd rather pay "professionals" to screw things up and the worst part is that it creates a sense of dependency in the minds of the people. They no longer know how or they don't have the desire to help themselves because they believe its the government's job.

    August 28, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. Bryan

    Why doesn't Ron go after NASA? The framers of the Constitution didn't put anything in the document to cover Moon landings and exploration of space. My god, the waste. If Adams, Jefferson, Franklin wanted space travel, then they dam well would have included it. If individual states wanted to travel to the Moon, they could do so free from government waste and oversight. I am sure this is on his agenda, he is just waiting for the Mars lander to find evidence of life on the red planet before he condemns them for their sheer incompetence.

    August 28, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  21. Faber McMullen

    Ron Paul is right. FEMA is a bloated waste of money. There are still 1,000s of "Fema Mobile Home" in Texas rotting in fields. THey were bought for milliions of dollars and never even got to N. Orleans where the place is still a wiped out disaster in many places.

    August 28, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  22. w7rkd

    Ron Paul needs to be cut, cut off from the media!

    August 28, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  23. Shawn

    Ron Paul is a hypocrite and a liar. What do you expect from a "libertarian" and free market crusader who has free government healthcare?

    One only has to look at the US's horrific for-profit healthcare "industry" compared to other developed countries to see that the right-wing fantasy about a "free market" (read: corporate slavery) solves anything. We have the worst healthcare system in the developed world because of it.

    August 28, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  24. Josh

    FEMA can only be effective if those who believe in it runs it, and be ineffective if those against govt run programs presides over it. How can you expect FEMA response to be effective when it is run be republicans who hate govt programs? FEMA did not do well with Katrina because of the president, is contrast it has been effective with this president. When we elect people who do not believe in govt we'll expect ineffective management........

    August 28, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  25. Tom

    Why is it Mr. Paul NOW wants to do away with FEMA after 3 billion in Federal funds were pumped into his state? Where was he when that money was offered? Why did he not say then, no thanks? Could possibly have been that his district was the beneficiary of much of that money, after the hurricane? Na...no way

    August 28, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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