November 1st, 2012
09:42 PM ET
2 years ago

Rand Paul: FEMA is 'inefficient'

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky held firm on his stance Thursday that local government provides better service when disaster strikes than the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This summer, the Republican senator made headlines when he held up a bill re-authorizing the National Flood Insurance Program by attaching a non-related "personhood" amendment that called for defining life as beginning at conception.

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Asked why he worked to stall the flood bill, Paul said the government was spending too much money it didn't have.

"I have always maintained that FEMA should exist on money that comes in as revenue, but not on borrowed money," the fiscal conservative said Thursday on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

Paul, a longtime critic of the agency, argued the U.S. should instead fund FEMA with the money it sends overseas in foreign aid. He also argued that local communities - as well as private groups such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross - do a better job than federal agencies in the immediate aftermath of large-scale emergencies.

The Republican senator shared a story about the local response in cities devastated by tornadoes earlier this year in Kentucky, saying "the churches stepped up."

"Two thousand responders a day were being fed by churches, and the people were being put up in houses," he said. "So I don't think this is entirely a government response. I think it's important to really laud the private folks, as well as the churches who step up."

While he maintained "government is inefficient" in major disasters, he added, "I'm not saying government doesn't have a role."

Paul also weighed in on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's unexpected endorsement Thursday for President Barack Obama. The senator said he wasn't surprised by the mayor's support.

"I don't think many thought that Nanny Bloomberg was going to be endorsing a Republican any time soon," he said.

Paul added: "We can't even get a decent size Coke to drink in New York City anymore, so no I don't think that his proclivities or his sort of sense of philosophy really is Republican much at all."

Now an independent, Bloomberg served his first two mayoral terms as a Republican. Before that he identified himself as a Democrat. Bloomberg remained neutral in the 2008 presidential election.

Citing Superstorm Sandy, which left much of his city underwater and powerless, the three-term mayor wrote in an op-ed on his website Thursday that he favored Obama's views over those of Mitt Romney on the issue of climate change, which, he said, "may or may not" have been a factor in this week's massive storm.

Bloomberg has faced pushback from Republicans in recent months after spearheading an effort to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and other venues. The New York City Board of Health approved the measure in September.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • Michael Bloomberg • New York • President Obama • Rand Paul
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    If you really STILL needed proof that this guy is a loon ... you now officially have it!

    November 1, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Hugh Mann

    Does privatizing the entire government make it more efficient? Only for the ones raking in our tax money. Who will oversee fairness and efficiency when there is no government left? Other corporations? Self-regulate? Serfdoms?

    November 1, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. thinking outside the box

    Congress is inefficient, but I don't see Rand suggesting it be replaced by the private sector. At least he isn't, yet.

    November 1, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. John

    When a disaster hits helping our fellow citizens out is more of a virtue than efficiency. A very efficient state run relief effort would by definition be slower than a less efficient larger federal mobilization. Is it better to be efficient in disaster relief or save lives. Rand, the corn syrup lobby thanks you for pandering; the check is in the mail. Large cups of soda are a more efficient way to get diabetes, drink early and often friend.

    November 1, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  5. Indy

    Congress is 'Inefficient"
    Tea Party is "Inefficient"

    November 1, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  6. Derek

    Nice... Answer thee question Rand Paul!!! Why have you Republican's been attaching Right Wing Religious Wing-Nut Amendments to bills in the Congress to hold Govn't up???

    To make Govn't dis-functional? So basically what your saying is, you attach amendments onto bills purposely that have no relation to the bill at hand to make sure you are NOT doing the job people elected you for, which is WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE!!!

    See.. it's easy Republican Rand Paul, just tell the truth!

    November 1, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. hughiewis

    I'm certainly happy that this moron is from Kentucky; knowing that I'll never run into him.

    November 1, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. larry

    I cant hear his creditability leaking

    November 1, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Francisco

    Now is not the Time Rand Paul.. Every article that I don't like has to be a Republican. And I'm not bashing on them, it's because it's too much of a coincidence

    November 1, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston

    WoW ! Hey Rand, so you think we need to get rid of FEMA, huh ? well, then why don't you tell all those people in N.Y. and N.J. that ? That's right, tell them that their mayor Bloomberg can find the "BILLIONS" that they need – to get them goin again. I wonder how that will fly with the people in N.J. ? Telling all the mayors & the "City Councils" that they are going to have to come up with the millions, or Billions – to Fix or Repair – or ReBuild – yeah, right, Rand.
    What rock did you come from behind ?

    November 1, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. Just an observation..

    Rand Paul and his daddy are nutcases.
    Time to vote him out, Kentucky.

    November 1, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Slightly Left of Center

    Rand Paul is inefficient, ineffective, inadequate, and erectile dysfunctional.

    November 1, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  13. mgrgurich

    So they pass a law capping the amount FEMA can charge for flood insurance, Pass Another law capping the amount of money they can borrow, and then say that not having enough money to pay all the claims is because of FEMA being inefficient? What a crock

    November 1, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. Jeetu.

    Dear Senator Rand Paul:

    The US Senate and the US House of Representatives are two organizations that are totally inefficient and ineffective, atleasdt during the past four years. Therefore, why do we not abolish them. Since you believe in efficeincy and effectiveness, perhaps you should resign from an ineffective Senate. That may reduce the inefficiency and also save some dollars for the deficit. It will also reduce your guilt.

    November 1, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. markiejoe

    Hey Rand Paul, the 19th Century is calling.

    November 1, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  16. Grndhog89

    Ugh. Guess what Paul, not everywhere is Kentucky where "churches step up". I'd like to see the American Red Cross and the private sector step up to the plate when response is required in a densely populated area such as New Jersey or NYC. Yes, local government still handled the majority and retained its primacy in dealing with the responses in Jersey and NYC as they should've. The point though is when it got too big for the local/state responders and emergency managers they brought in FEMA. FEMA had the standing contracts and MOUs with all of these different organizations to mobilize them and come assist. I don't think the private sector and NGOs are viable stand-ins for FEMA to serve as the metaphorical "glue" that binds it all together when a disaster gets too big.

    November 1, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  17. CristieIsBetterNow4it

    Just as Chris Christie has lost all his Tea Party Creds as well as a good portion of his state. Another idiot has popped up ready to defend the indefensible. The federal government puts the united in the United States. Every state doesn't have the infrastructure, particularly in the case of a state hit by a natural disaster to launch a massive relief operation. In New Orleans, during Katrina the police were rescuing Cadillacs. People structures break down as well as the having to deal with no power, no home, no food etc. Imagine a major earthquake in Bowling Green KY. This dude would be flip flopping so fast, Rush Limbaugh would have to question his conservative credentials as well!

    November 1, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. kenny Z.

    Rand Paul himself is inefficient.

    November 1, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  19. kenny Z.

    You are inefficient, Rand, not FEMA. This is not 2004.

    November 1, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  20. Jake

    Paul? Really? why would anybody take this hillbilly serious? Cmon man..argue about something with substance and stop this elementary school whining....Idiot!!!!

    November 1, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. Betty

    NYC will be a mess for months. Poor people are eating out of dumpsters now. Two small children were found drowned. Where's FEMA? Why did Obama fly-over the Jersey Shore to survey the damage to Snookie's mansion? He really does only care about his celebrity friends.

    November 1, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  22. L.R.Long

    Does Rand Paul REALLY wanna have this conversation with ANYONE who was tragically affected by Sandy? Really?! He's heartless.

    November 1, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. tracy

    Why do repub leaders feel the need to call people names and talk bad about people who disagree with them? Stupid foolishness from you supposed leaders.

    November 1, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. Safejourney

    lol, poor ol' Lyin Ryan. Tell that to the Americans in NY and NJ and Gov Christi that really need FEMA now. You and Mitt the twit are done. Pack it up and go home.

    November 1, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  25. tracy

    1. DADT, 2. Healthcare 3. Osama Bin Ladin 4. Bank regulations 5. Ledbetter law for women, just to name a few my president has accomplished proudly. Go Mr. President. Your ARMY is here and we love you man!!!

    November 1, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
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