Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA
August 27th, 2011
03:59 PM ET
10 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. BGG

    Paul is such a lightweight, what we don't need is Homeland Security, the whole power grabbing boondoggle is a Bush knee jerk reaction to real problems best solved intelligently rather than throwing money around and giving uneducated people an opportunity to get their kicks humiliating others.

    August 27, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. Bruce

    I think the next time we have a large natural disaster, Katrina comes to mind, that is going to hit Texas, we should have the Federal Gov stay away and let Ron Paul and the other anti Unites States repugs deal with it on their own. Oh wait a minute there are lots of really good people with kids and families that can't always afford to be prepared like Ron Paul can. When the bodies start stacking up in Galveston and Texas City I guess Ron will have his son with him doing their part by taking people into their home and feed them and rebuild their houses. Oh wait those might be poor or black so he wouldn't have to do anything for them because they could take care of themselves.

    August 27, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Janet in California

    REALLY????? What planet are you living on, Mr. Paul! Without FEMA, natural disasters would be even more devastating for the people who are caught in them. Please wake up and smell the roses!

    August 27, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Rick Varnell

    Responsible people do not need FEMA for Hurricanes, we get our water, batteries,food and Tarps in advance. We also evacuate if told to. I can see FEMA for Earthquakes and Tornadoes because you have no warning. I live in West Palm Beach and as soon as the rain stops after a hurricane the losers line up for miles to get the free stuff. The rest of us clean up, eat our can goods and go back to work.

    August 27, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. Annibsweet

    Well he's right. How many times do coastal communities need to be devastated by natural occurrences before they quit building right next to the ocean? How many times do American tax payers have to share the burden for this abject stupidity? If people weren't living where it's obviously foolish to live, we mostly wouldn't need FEMA and states could handle their own problems, for the most part. There's a little something to think about.

    August 27, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. Ron Paul

    RON PAUL is the People's Choice in 2012! Join the rEVOLution!

    August 27, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. dabble53

    Remember, Texas considers itself a separate country/republic. Of course they don't want to fund another country's (the US) organizations. Personally, I'm in favor of letting TX separate from the least there's zero chance of another idiot president from that state then.

    August 27, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. Gravy

    Ron Paul standing out on a limb preaching the facts as usual. FEMA is garbage after it was absorbed by DHS. Ask the people in New Orleans how much FEMA helped. Protecting Americans is not their main objective.

    When, as an American, you realize that the things you are told is a fabrication, you come to realize that Ron Paul is one of the only people in Congress doing their job. The things he says seem crazy because people are so asleep. Ask yourself, when is the last time you thought about how the American People were lied to so we would go along with the Iraq War (which RP voted against)? We, as a people, have the memory of fish. When you don't understand something, do some reading before opening your mouth. Do some reading before using your right to vote. We are, after all, responsible for what our government does.

    August 27, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Decl

    Fema got us through until our insurance paid off when our house flooded. It was not a handout – we paid back every penny – but they were there when we needed them.

    August 27, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Craig

    So, let's just go back to this simpler time. Each state along the Mississippi can do what they want, even if that means causing disaster for the next state in line. No problem. Hurricanes? Heck, we'll just let those folks who live there deal with it. Combine this with the demands to cut NOAA and they won't even know the storms are coming. We'll just...let them die.

    People can fend for themselves, and if they return to unsafe conditions and die because of big deal.

    I'll be the first to admit that FEMA isn't perfect, and Katrina was a disaster, not because of the storm but largely because of inept leadership. However, I'll bet a lot of folks got some help that would never have been available from State and local governments. Dumb! Just plain dumb!

    August 27, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Ed

    FEMA has 7,600 employees? Unbelievable! That's at least 10 times what is needed until a disaster strikes. They should fire 90% of them and then hire outfits like the Red Cross, local food banks and utility companies as contractors on an as-needed basis. You just need some HQ staff, a few specialized experts and then some local coordinators to handle all the contractors and temporary workers in the disaster zones. No wonder government is so bloated.

    August 27, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. Roger

    For those that don't want FEMA consider do a liitle history research prior to their existence and the destruction that major disasters caused without a unified response. Agencies are only as affective as the money that is put into them and if that agency then fails the reublicants will then say see look how inept government is because they didnt plan or have things in order. Republicants are a bunch of doomsdayers who care little about what they can't see due to selfish ignorance...except for that imagiinary white ghost in the sky. If you want to cut waste stop the war on drugs and war on terror machines that waste billions...not on education and preventive measures for the future.

    August 27, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. Jay

    to all of you who are saying "give the power back to the states and local government and end FEMA" just do not get it. first of all states like NJ don't have the funds or budget to rescue and protect its citizens. if it weren't for FEMA many states wouldn't be able to do anything to save people. just today Republican Gov. Chris Christie THANKED Obama for the FEMA helped he sent to that state because they nedded it. when will republicans put human life first before money. these are the politicians that calls themselves christians and pro lifers

    August 27, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  14. blake

    We need to reduce or completely eliminate tens of thousands of federal programs we waste hundreds of billions of dollars annually on. Uncle Sam is way, way too big and powerful. And involved in far too much.

    August 27, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. Siojan

    As a recipient of FEMA's help after the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake I feel it is a vital program. I lost my rental apartment, nearly all my possessions and had a foot injury which made it impossible to do my work as a waitress for a time. FEMA enabled me to afford another apartment and get back on my feet, literally. Clearly Mr.Paul has never been in a position of need after a natural disaster. I will be forever grateful for the assistance.

    August 27, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. John

    Hurricanes move across multiple states. Leaving the responsibility to states would mean inefficient duplication of resources in each state. Much better to have a core group of knowledgable and effective people in charge of the response to a national disaster.

    August 27, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Tim

    FEMA can only respond after the State government requests Federal assistance. Sounds like next time Texas gets hit by a disaster, they need to finance all the recovery on their own and not request any resources or funds from the Feds.

    August 27, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. Alina77

    "FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas," Paul said.
    "In Texas, we would beet up Bernanke " Parry said. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE IN TEXAS?!

    August 27, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  19. Gravy

    Ron Paul is not against disaster assistance. Just wasteful agencies. When will we start realizing that just because a government agency exists, doesn't mean its a good thing. Why do we run a deficit every year for decades? Well? Maybe because never cut programs that don't work. We just overlay them with more programs. Then we borrow and print money to pay for them. This is the disease of big government that's been around for so long that we actually expect it. WAKE UP.

    August 27, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. chris

    Where does the money for FEMA come from? Us! They take our tax money and essentially give it back in the form of services which would be much better performed by the impacted States. Enough of this federal government nonsense. We take of our neighbors. That's how it should be. Stop looking to the federal government for EVERYTHING.

    August 27, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Jim

    The press FINALLY gives Ron Paul some attention and it just so happens to be something controversial......Obviously the oligarchy is hard at work already to discredit him. I hope people are smart enough to see through this.

    August 27, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. John Dockum

    Rob Paul is correct. Unfortunately, people here are so quick to respond because the thought of no one to bail them out of a natural disaster scares them. Your state should be responsible for providing shelter for those devastated by hurricanes not the Federal Government. That way, states in high hurricane areas can focus their attention on issues that affect their state. WHy do the people of North Dakota need their money going to the 9th ward when they have their own problems like drought and fires to worry about? Federal response is slow, and inaccurate. States can also work more closely with local insurance companies than the federal government too. It pains me to see how many people just jumped to calling names and never thought this out. It is the reason why the US is in trouble. BTW, all of my lawn furniture is in and Irene is hitting here now. Helped move some furniture upstairs for a neighbor prone to flooding and closed some basement windows for an old lady across the street. Who needs FEMA?

    August 27, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Don WV

    I have to agree with Ron Paul in this also! During the 85 flood here in WV the federal government did nothing! The American Red Cross was here from the beginning, with cloths , a place to stay, and food! Local business's pitched in, also local church's! With FEMA, people and organizations have a tendency to expect the federal government to help so they don't!
    Also FEMA in most cases hampers help that is needed!

    August 27, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  24. kansaskidat47

    apparently there are some people who dont understand what all FEMA is involved in. im with R. Paul on this one. i suggest those who think that FEMA is some kind of 'lifesaving organization' you use your computer and look up all the information that you can on what all FEMA is about. HOMELAND SECURITY? okay...fine, believe what you want. its always been easier to be a sheep and follow what the majority thinks. stick your head in the sand but this country is headed for hell.

    August 27, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. StuckInTheMiddle

    Heck, let's just get rid of the government altogether... and law enforcement, and the military. Every man for himself. Isn't that what the tebagger wants? "We got ours, to hell with you."

    August 27, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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