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. Sharon

    Maybe Ron Paul did not phrase it correctly, but FEMA has not been as effective as: neighbors, donations, Red Cross, churches of all faiths, etc. New Orleans' aftermath for the victims is a good case in point. Who do we see rebuild N.O. and have it look decent and make victims happy they can now start a new phase of their lives? Brad Pitt (private), Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, churches, private donations that did not go to "federal aid". Where did that money go anyway? And Hurricane Andrew is a good example. People just sat on roofs and lawns and in warehouses and trailers and just sat there waiting for the federal government to make everylike right (and often even better was expected – because the government said they were on their way to fix everything...ha!). At the same time, the Midwest had a horrendous, devastating flood. And who fixed most of it? The local citizens and friends in need. Done and back to being a beautiful place to live. See the difference? People fix things, not governments.

    August 28, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Seriously????

    I think that doing away with TSA would be more benificial. Talk about a waste of resources.

    August 28, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. finalturismo

    """"One thing that stands out about the Katrina disaster is the utter failure of FEMA or any other government agency to provide support and rescue services to the areas. Lawlessness was rampant with police shooting innocent civilians and going door to door confiscating guns from American citizens in dry areas just trying to defend their homes.""""

    August 28, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Cliff Vegas

    The more this man brings his ideas into focus the more I am convinced that he does not belong in government.

    August 28, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. finalturismo

    One thing that stands out about the Katrina disaster is the utter failure of FEMA or any other government agency to provide support and rescue services to the areas. Lawlessness was rampant with police shooting innocent civilians and going door to door confiscating gu-n-s from American citizens in dry areas just trying to defend their homes.

    August 28, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Hec Jervae

    The FEMA director was just on FOX News Sunday and he was asked by Chris Wallace what all FEMA was doing to provide people with shelter after Hurricane Irene. The director said if you need shelter, look up the Red Cross. Huh? I suppose Ron Paul could have come up with that one and saved the taxpayer a few billion in the process. But the federal gov't has lots of money, or at least it has a printing press.

    August 28, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. midnitejax

    While FEMA 's fundamenatl program is sound in theory,it has long been used as a feeding trough for every politician up for re-election. Contsruction projects were funded under the guise of repairs from storm damages.If the qualifications for assistance were strictly adhered to by the agency, and political pressures kept out of the loop, the program could be streamlined and funded accordingly. Ron Paul's idea of doing away with it altogether is stupid at best. Why he doesn't just point the finger at the abusers of the program instead of abandoning everyone, makes one wonder who he is protecting?

    August 28, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. SS

    And once again Ron Paul is 100% correct. It is a big wasteful bureaucratic nightmare that does more harm than any good. Only Paul is the only one with the balls to say it. All the federal agencies need to be audited and gutted at the very least.

    August 28, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. a in austin

    After hearing most of the coastal governors speak this morning after the passing of Irene, all praised the efforts of FEMA including NJ's governor. Great job FEMA.

    August 28, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Kanu Kangal

    When water reaches knee high near his home, he will be the first one to call FEMA. And then will complain that Federal Govt. did not do enough.

    August 28, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. SS

    And once again Ron Paul is 100% correct. It is a big wasteful bureaucratic nightmare that does more harm than any good. Only Paul is the only one with the guts to say it. All the federal agencies need to be audited and stripped at the very least.

    August 28, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Betelmann

    No surprise here. Paul is a lunatic living in another world, where people don't care about others, feel smug at their misfortune, and simply want to hoard for themselves. What a total jerk.

    August 28, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. scott

    Paul is just another hypocrite whose State(mine as well), Texas leads the Nation in receiving Government aid and at the same time has the worst Schools in the Nation. And these guys (Perry, Paul) want to lead our Country? They are both Hogs feeding at the trough.

    August 28, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Ron Paul

    Are you people stupid? You need FEMA? You need government to care for you?

    Dr. Paul us saying 2 things here.
    1. FEMA is Unconstitutional. Which he is right, it is not an enumerated power of government to provide disaster relief.
    2. People should get help after a disaster but it should come from the States or Local Government. From private charities, churches and individuals. Why? Because the more local the support, the more effective e and efficient the help.

    Seriously, before you have some god awful emotional response, think a little bit. There are alot of problems with FEMA. Look at the response during Katrina an other disasters.

    Also consider that for 150 years there were disasters in this country and no FEMA. How did those people survive? How did they rebuild their homes etc? Think just a little bit, and you will find the answers.

    August 28, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Frank Lopez

    I'm sure he also believes we don't need the weather center because any warning can be found in the bible. What an ignorant. And he wants to be president.

    August 28, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. basky

    Only when Mr. Obama became President that you dont need the FEMA. I wonder why Mr. Paul, Perry,Mitt... wants to be the President of the USA and they dont want the Gov. to play any role to take care of its citizens. It's a shame that this is happening in this critical time.

    August 28, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. mike

    There's more magic about FEMA than there is about him.

    August 28, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Chris

    Let's see...what else can we cut? We don't need a military either. Every citizen can just own whatever gun they want and if another country invades, we'll fight them off, Libyan Rebel style. We could do without the US Mint or the Department fo the Treasury, too. We can all just trade beads and trinkets instead. And why do we bother with the CDC? Why should we have that taxpayer funded agency when we all have our own immune system?

    This is what makes 1) Ron Paul unelectable to a national office and 2) his constituents bat-poop crazy for sending him back to the H of R over and over.

    August 28, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. TruthEngine

    Ron Paul's latest utterance perfectly encapsulates the mindset of the self-obsessed and arrogant right wing: "I don't need no stinkin' help from anybody, therefore NOBODY needs any help, and they sure better not expect any from me!"

    August 28, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Dan

    I agree with him. FEMA is a waste of money. The national guard, state and local governments and other organizations are in place to provide assistance after storms. Local businesses and even some citizens volunteer their time to help with the clean up. We don't need a federal agency wasting our tax dollars by doing nothing but coming on TV and talking about how they have briefed the President.

    August 28, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. JD

    Of course republican Ron Paul wants to cut a service that helps middle class people. All republicans know if government is helping people, government is bad.

    August 28, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Young Liberty

    We don't need under competent, over paid federal workers like FEMA...that's what the National Guard is for. Oh Wait!!! They are off fighting some foreign war. Oops. I guess FEMA is all we have..we are doomed.

    August 28, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. gar

    The Reactionary Party's goal: shrink America.

    August 28, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Paulwisc

    This is exactly why Ron Paul is unelectable. He is forced by his own rigid ideology to take idiotic positions that have little to do with reality.

    August 28, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Jon

    Your local government, if given all the money and resources that FEMA is, would be a thousand times more helpful in a disaster.

    You complain that the DMV cant send you a license plate sticker in under a month and then expect the same bureacracy to rescue you in a disaster?

    Ask New Orleans how that worked out.

    August 28, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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