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. kane

    Why do people always talk about cutting or creating programs? How about our congressmen come up with ideas to MAKE THEM MORE EFFECTIVE? It's so easy to score cheap political points with "simple" solutions, but no one wants to put in the effort to understand the problems and fix them.

    August 28, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm reading comments about FEMA being unconstitutional. How can that be if Congress created it and funds it?

    August 28, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. REG in AZ

    You have to give him credit for being consistent; Ron Paul constantly advocates that government should do nothing about anything. If you are very well off that likely could be okay, maybe not but maybe yes; however, for the majority, including all of the middle-class, that very likely would cause severe problems as it would for the country.

    August 28, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Once again, take note. What does Paul say about this situation? That FEMA should be abolished. What does Perry say? That FEMA is ineffective. This is why Perry will beat Paul hands down. Paul does not know how to speak like a polititian.

    Both of these polititians would like to see FEMA abolished. It is how they say it that makes the difference.

    August 28, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Desi

    We also don't need the second amendment. The only thing it does is to allow people to shoot each other.

    August 28, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Ryan Larson

    No, we don't need FEMA. We don't need half the scam departments in the Fed government. If something big happens, call in the national guard or the army corps of engineers. That is who actually does anything real when events go badly. Just read the reports. The national guard restores orders and distributes supplies. The Army corps of engineers rebuilds the broken infrastructure. FEMA collects checks, then fails when disaster comes. End of story.

    August 28, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    And we certainkybdon t need another old presidential candidate who still lives in the 1800s!! It's sad that some people think this guy makes any sense!

    August 28, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Max

    During the many hurricanes Florida had in 2004 I was a truck driver contracted by FEMA to haul bottled water. I was dispatched up to Atlanta where FEMA had stockpiled water to pick up my load to deliver to Florida. Do local agancies have this capability? No. The company I worked for had over 600 trucks bring water down from FEMA's wharehouses and deliver to those in need. There were just as many trucks delivering tarps and meals ready to eat (MREs) from other trucking companies too. I've seen FEMA mange large operations and I thought they did a good job.

    August 28, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. John B

    Didn't anyone see the first X-Files movie??? FEMA was covering up the alien invasion. Maybe Ron Paul is an alien and is trying to get rid of FEMA because his alien friends are coming.

    August 28, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. I Blame OBama

    He said the storm would be worse and it wasnt. Its his fault the storm was weak. If he would have stayed on vacation, then it would be OK, but he had to go to FEMA and ruin everything.

    August 28, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Nathan

    Couldn't agree more! I do not want the federal government trying to protect me from the impact of hostile nature, only to negatively impact me by its own treachery! The reason Paul sounds so crazy to most is because they've been drinking from the kool-aid for too long to see they are chained by their serf-like dependency on the government. But alas–I'm afraid it's too late. We're asleep!

    August 28, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. sorry america

    unfortunately american people are too stupid to elect a ron paul. ron paul's arguments are too intellectual for the average american. the average american thinks that if you repeal drug laws everyone will start to use drugs even though drug usage has only increased tremendously since "the war on drugs" began. but an argument like this is too abstract or sensible for average americans. americans much prefer simple and straight forward ideas. "the attack us cause of our freedom" "hope you can believe in" "believe in america"

    August 28, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Todd NTX

    Ron Paul is right on this one and I am not a supporter for his presidential run. Before the Katrina debacle of 2005, FEMA was, more or less, a clearinghouse that organized other agencies for disaster assistance. There were no such things as FEMA tractor trailer trucks to move in food and water. FEMA was originally established for a post nuclear war society. Now it is a big bureaucracy under the wing of a major-mega bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security.

    We need to go through the entire U. S. government apparatus and greatly reduce or completely eliminate wasteful departments such as the Department of Energy, Labor, Education and I could go on.

    This country is bankrupt folks.

    We need to get serious about holding our politicians and news media accountable.

    August 28, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Sharon

    To the person who said they definitely needed FEMA held after Hurricane Andrew. I worked for a corporation (yes, one of those nasty rich Republican corporations) from Massachusetts and they used the Corporation's money and volunteers to go down and put new roofs on hundreds of homes. So much for FEMA. Lots of folks had roofs over their heads way before the goverment got to them.

    August 28, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. James Maro

    Ron Paul is going to be our president in 2012, deal with it.

    August 28, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. rick jolie

    He's right. we don't need FEMA. the states can handle all their problems alone. I'm tired of seeing all my tax dollars go to states like florida, the carolinas or texas where people are too stupid to realize that one should not build on a beach. why should we pay to help them fix their vacation homes? their choice, their problem, let them pay. cut billions from fema and lower the deficit.
    Time to man up and take back our country. TEA PARTY RULES!

    August 28, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Toby Sanders

    This is one of the few times CNN has actually mentioned Ron Paul at all and they still attempt to make him sound crazy. If you actually do your research you'll understand that this man is right on this. They don't cover him for a reason. Ron Paul is the only candidate that actually cares about the people's freedoms. Every other candidate is a puppet of the establishment and the last thing we need is to vote one of them in. They want you to believe Paul doesn't stand a chance when in all actually it will come down to Ron Paul vs Obama. I can't wait to see those debates. Obama will get destroyed because Ron Paul actually knows what he's talking about.

    August 28, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Frank Fuhrter

    I'll bet if Ron Paul wasn't rich but rather a mid-income guy with a family who just lived through a flood would have a different opinion. I had carried home owner's insurance and was thankful that I had it after my home was filled with 5 ft. of water. To my surprise, home owner's insurance doesn't cover floods. Imagine losing your home, your town is underwater, and your insurane co. just told you're out of luck (although the agent I purchased policy from assured me that natural disasters are covered). If not for FEMA, I would have been destroyed. For those of you that do not know, FEMA allows a one time payout for those of us that were duped by our insurance carrier. No one in line for aid knew that home owner's did not cover floods. FEMA gave us the cushion we needed to rebuild with a warning to carry flood insurance or I could not file a claim if this happened again. as for the unconstitutional argument – Public schools, waste water treatment, and fresh clean drinking water are not constitutional. Maybe we should dismantle those? Would anyone be able to afford $10,00/yr school tuition per child? Not to mention the astronomical cost that private for profit waste water removal & drinking water costs would be. If this were the case, all but the very wealthy would be uneducated peasants.

    August 28, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Trendsetter

    Communities come together to help disaster victims. We don't need government trying to do so and wasting millions in the process. At the same time, many of those individuals who are impacted by the storms year after year, continue to live there holding their hands out if disaster strikes. It is their personal choice and they, like everyone else, should have the right to be stupid without expecting someone else to pick up the tab.

    August 28, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Kiko

    I understand the criticism of FEMA. There has been mismanagement and waste inside the agency, and it will likely continue. But as to giving the power back to the states, what happens when the states don't invest in any sort of emergency preparedness? I was raised in Puerto Rico and lived there for 18 years. While I was growing up since the government was well off (sort of) financially they invested into emergency response, especially for hurricanes. We got hit by two Category 5 hurricanes in that time, and in two months the island was back to normal. Now due to the island being broke, they stopped investing in all of this. Now if the island gets hit by a tropical storm it's left off without electricity and running water for weeks at a time and the government has to request federal funds in order to cope with the problems. Imagine if with that lack of preparedness a place would get hit by a Category 3-5. It'd be disastrous.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    August 28, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. TJeff1776

    States are geographically compareable to counties- some are poor and weak; others wealthy and strong. BUT their redeemable quality IS we are all connected like a family. When one hurts- the others ouch. Like most States, Texas and Alaska would never have happened without United States arms. Alaska was outright purchased from Russia
    by U. S. taxpayers. How then does any one States look down their nose at other States and say, "we have no need of thee"- especially those States gained via the Louisiana purchase by U. S. taxpayers.

    August 28, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Bill C

    For those of you who say that we can't show where the Constitution would not allow for FEMA, you have it completely backwards. You should be able to show me where the Constitution allows for such government largesse. You can't. Does it work? Maybe on some occassions. But that is the exception more than the rule and is also, quite frankly, besides the point. Banning all guns might (I emphasize might) lead to a decrease in gun deaths. But at what price? If you value your liberty you won't tolerate such action. Nor should you tolerate FEMA substituting what it thinks is best for what the states can and should do and for individual responsibility.

    August 28, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Diana

    How did he get elected again?

    August 28, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. steve

    Repugnicants all believe in fending for themself when it suits them and only the strong (rich) survive. Let them all move to some Caribbian tax haven and shiven in their silk underwear waiting for the next tropical storm

    August 28, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Deep North

    Talk about your Bad Timing! Does he not have handlers that Advise him when a subject is approachable! Dismantle FEMA while a Hurricane just went by? and he wonders why he wont get elected!

    August 28, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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