(CNN) - Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont criticized Texas Rep. Ron Paul on Monday for blasting the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a useless entity.
"I like Ron Paul, but on these issues, he's completely out to lunch," Sanders told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, anchor of "The Situation Room."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just as Hurricane Irene was slamming the East Coast, the political rhetoric was approaching category 5 strength in other parts of the country.
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann joked at a campaign event in Florida that the disaster was a sign from God that federal spending was out of control.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Even though Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm, its powerful winds and drenching rain continue to pose danger to people who venture into it, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday.
People should "stay inside, stay safe," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told CNN's "State of the Union" program. "For a lot of folks, the danger still exists. We still will have trees coming down, heavy rain, strong winds."FULL STORY
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – As Hurricane Irene strikes and spooks large parts of the U.S., Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is not yet ready to praise President Barack Obama's handling of the storm.
The Texas governor appeared at a county GOP picnic in Des Moines on Saturday. During an exchange with reporters, Perry was asked if the president has been an effective leader during a week that saw two menacing natural disasters: an earthquake and currently the hurricane.
(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."
(CNN) - The House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday to ensure the agency has enough resources to cover disaster response efforts in Missouri and in other states recently hit by natural disasters.
Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, who chairs the spending committee's panel that oversees FEMA's budget, pressed for the additional money to be added to the bill funding the department for the upcoming fiscal year.FULL STORY
(CNN) –Texas Gov. Rick Perry will not meet with President Obama Tuesday when he travels to the Lone Star State. Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks on immigration in El Paso and headline two fundraisers in Austin Texas, but he will not visit with the governor. And in a classic case of he-said, she-said, it's unclear who is refusing to meet with whom.
Perry has been outspoken about his displeasure with the president's refusal to sign a disaster declaration for the wildfire-plagued state and turned down an offer to meet Obama at the airport, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man tapped to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency says the agency will remain under the Department of Homeland Security. But it was not immediately clear if nominee Craig Fugate was representing only his personal opinion or administration policy.
"That debate, as far as I'm concerned, is over," Fugate said in response to a question at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. He said FEMA will stay inside the department.
Some critics say FEMA's poor performance during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was exacerbated by its inclusion inside DHS. Those critics want FEMA to be a stand-alone agency reportable directly to the president.
But others say FEMA's mission - to provide assistance in both man-made and natural disasters - mirrors the mission of DHS, and say it belongs in the department.
In recent months, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has declined to give her own opinions, saying she had not yet discussed the matter with President Barack Obama. She said it is more important to plan on a response to the next disaster than to plan where FEMA fit on organizational charts.
Asked for clarification Wednesday, DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban issued a similar statement: "Secretary Napolitano applauds Mr. Fugate's focus on FEMA's disaster-response mission, rather than on the very Washington question of where the agency's box is on the organizational chart."
(CNN) – The White House announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama will nominate Craig Fugate, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, as the new FEMA administrator.
“From his experience as a first responder to his strong leadership as Florida’s Emergency Manager, Craig has what it takes to help us improve our preparedness, response and recovery efforts and I can think of no one better to lead FEMA,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m confident that Craig is the right person for the job and will ensure that the failures of the past are never repeated.”
In his current position, Fugate is in charge of coordinating the disaster response and preparedness for the state of Florida, which has been hit by a number of devastating hurricanes since he took charge in 2001.
Fugate will join Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for an event in New Orleans on Thursday.