Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires
April 29th, 2011
04:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires

(CNN)- Republican Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of neglecting Texas Thursday when he slammed the administration for failing to declare a disaster in the wildfire-damaged state.

"You see hundreds of thousands of acres of Texas burning and you know that there will soon be emergency declarations, and we did that now a couple of weeks ago, but still no response from this administration," he told local news radio station WOAI in an interview.

Perry requested a federal declaration for emergency in Texas on April 16 after destruction from wildfires reached 252 counties in the state. An emergency declaration from the president would clear the path for federal aid to Texas.

Obama approved GOP Gov. Robert Bentley's request for emergency federal assistance in Alabama on Wednesday, the same day it was requested, after a wave of tornados ripped through the state. According to FEMA, emergency declarations are made when "an incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond state and local capabilities and that federal assistance is necessary."

Obama visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama Friday, touring damaged regions of the city. He pledged the federal government would "do everything we can to help these communities rebuild."
"I've never seen devastation like this," the president said.

But Perry aired his frustration over what he perceives as a lack of needed attention to Texas, venting, "They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help."

Perry protested what he views as a lack of response from President Obama 13 days after his request for emergency funds, though federal agencies such as the National Park Service have supplied firefighters to support the state.

"There is a point in time where you say, hey, what's going on here. You have to ask why are you taking care of Alabama and other states? I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail."

But an administration official with knowledge of federal assistance provided to Texas tells CNN the state has been already been allocated 16 fire management assistance grants that provide financial support for the specific purpose of fighting fires. Texas has been approved to receive six more grants of this kind to aid state and local governments with firefighting efforts that include equipment, field camps, mobilizing and demobilizing activities. The most recent fire management grant was approved Wednesday.

Perry has also charged Obama with punishing Texas for his open opposition to administration-led reform on health care and the environment, a charge which the president has denied.

Rachel Racusen, a FEMA spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities continuing to be affected by the wildfires in Texas. Governor Perry's request is currently under review, and we will continue our close coordination with the state as they work to protect their residents and communities."

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro contested Perry's claims of neglect, saying, "The administration has greatly been assisting Texas with the fight against the wildfires."

Filed under: President Obama • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Name

    Isn't this the guy who dislikes the Federal government so much that he suggested that Texas ought to consider secession?

    Very ironic.

    April 29, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. GaryB

    Wait. Isn't this the same Perry who threatened that Texas might secede from the union over health insurance reform? The same Perry who said during the hurricanes of 2008 that Republican-led states can take care of their own and that only states with Democrats at the helm needed federal aid? Wow, funny how his tune has changed.

    April 29, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Didn't you turn down federal money, in the pompous name of reducing the deficit?
    Didn't your colleagues in the beltway way vote to slash FEMA funding?

    Sorry, dude. That would add to the deficit.
    Go ask the TEA party for approval to raise the deficit and we will send you what they allow.

    April 29, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Governer, Texas is an independent state. Your idea. Remember?

    April 29, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Robert

    Maybe Ricky Boy needed a little dose of what life would be like if he persuaded Texas to leave the Union as he espoused during the last election cycle. Texas does need help, but the disasters of the deep South have pressing needs to assist hundreds of people displacd by instantaneous and total devastation. Hold your tater Tex, your time will come.

    April 29, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Steven

    Didn't he want to leave the Union earlier?

    April 29, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. LovesIrony

    Ask the Corporations for money. Curse spending until YOU need it. Hypocrit

    April 29, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    HAHAHA. These guys are unreal. Sorry dude....I thought it was the state's job..."health and welfare"...10th Amendment....states rights...we're broke blah blah yammer yammer ding dong...[insert ideological vomit here].

    April 29, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. MrZ

    Rick, secede and fund the relief yourself. Isn't that the B. S. you and the Tea Party think you can do?

    April 29, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. drdiane

    I recall seeing in the news that large amounts of federal assistance have already been sent to Texas – maybe Perry should consider his threat to secede from the US to have been heard and accepted in Washington – he didn't want any of that stinking communist/ socialist bailout cash, so...now he doesn't get any!

    April 29, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. DanteX



    Well Go Get The Money From your TEA Party Supporters Governor Perry. Or BETTER YET – Raise YOUR OWN REVENUE -State Taxes- to pay for it since "the States' do NOT need the Federal Government 'snooping around in their business' and the States' can do things on their OWN. SO INSTEAD OF BEGGING FOR MONEY ON THE TAXPAYERS' DOLE – GO DO IT YOURSELF.


    April 29, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Lemme get this straight:

    Federal funding for people to get health care: bad.

    Federal funding for people to pick up the pieces after natural disaster: good.

    Nope...no cognitive dissonance here...just turn your tinfoil hats up to 11 and it makes perfect sense.

    April 29, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. actionjacks7


    April 29, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    I don't ever recall FEMA funds being dispensed in the case of forest fires or wild fires. Anyone?

    April 29, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Rick Perry wanted Texas to secede from the United States. Now he's crying because Washington doesn't listen to him. Governor Perry is about as two-faced as a politician can get.

    April 29, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Diana

    Wasn't it Rick Perry who stated the state’s rainy day fund is "our insurance policy against a major natural disaster."
    Well Rick, time to use your own money. You can't have it both ways...want to seceed from the US but then still demand funds from the Feds. As a Texan, I am ashamed of this Gov. just as I was ashamed of the last one we elected. When will the people of Texas wise up?

    April 29, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Anthony Ravenell

    Perry, what a Moron! First he tells everyone that the great state of Texas is self-sufficient and now he cries for Federal Money. Can't have it both ways Rick as soon as the federal government sends you resources you are the first one to say that you don't want the federal government involved in "States" business. Open your mouth and put your foot right in it!

    April 29, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Thankfully Independent

    Well, when you want cutbacks, reduced spending and smaller government, this is what you get Texas. Now stop whining.

    April 29, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. jc

    According to past statements by Gov. Perry, Texas didn't need the Federal Government, or was it a Federal Government with Obama as President??? Typical GOP hypocrite who champions succession and then cries when their state can't take care of themselves (as they always say they want).

    April 29, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. autobots

    Republican Governors = Consummate Hypocrites

    April 29, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. jon

    I thought Texas wanted to separate from the United States. Goodness these political clowns are the most two faced people on Earth. If you are going to threaten to create your own country don't turn around and cry about not getting support from the feds.

    April 29, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Republican Robber Baron

    Your state refuses to fund its own firefighters...and makes people pay a mandatory annual "fee" aka which is just a wimpy way of collecting tax. Then watch someones house burn down and peoples dogs or pets die in the process...if they don't pay that "fee". That's about all you need to know about Rick Perry's policy on fighting fires.

    April 29, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. david

    feel free to join Mexico pal!!!

    April 29, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. TrinityLee

    Dear Gov. Perry,

    As a resident of the great state of Texas, I remember clearly you calling for Texas to seced from the union of these United States. I've also heard you denounce federal aid and assistance and say that Texas is an independent state. I would hate to think that your words or actions are hindering a federal administration from assisting my fellow Texans, that would just be childs play. Game, set, match...

    Southern Democrat

    April 29, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. seriously???

    Ha... I was gonna post what everyone else is already saying, good to know people are paying attention to these hypocrites!!

    April 29, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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