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

    Here's a list of what we really dont need. No.1 More republicans telling everyone what we dont need. No.2, repeat No.1.

    August 27, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. george

    he is right. we need strong communities not wasted beuracratic programs that try to force us around. we should become adults and stop being cildren who never want to fend for ourselves. it just waters down freedom.. the amazing energy of freedom is what fuels people to deal with problems. the role of government should be to support freedom not to take care of us like adopted children.

    August 27, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. DonnaJC

    Eric, Ron Paul was 2nd place in the Ohio Straw Poll a cpl wks ago and was behind from getting 1st place by only cpl hundred votes. I'd say he's doing well, just the main stream media has a tendency to not mention him at all if they can help it. After the poll, whenever the media mentioned the 'top tier" , they all failed to mention Ron Paul. I, for one, have backed him since the last election. We do need teh gov't down graded and we do need to give the states more authority in their respective states, etc.. I agree whole heartedly with a good portion of his views. He's never flip flopped on his votes and issues and he's always maintained that things need to be done and has never waivered from his views.. which is a heck of a lot more than I can for the majority of the so called reps and candidates.

    August 27, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. TruthSeeker

    I think he's absolutely right. I'd rather give my time to help the people clean up after irene than watch some ineffective circus try and pretend to clean up the mess.

    August 27, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. Dreamer96

    Thank You CNN for putting this story up....

    Ron Paul says we should close FEMA, it's not the government's job to protect us from natural disasters, or help us rebuild. So according to him we don't need the DHS, EPA, Militray, National Guard, NOAA, Coast Guard, Policemen, and Firemen either,,,what a nutcase from Texas...

    Why doesn't Ron Paul come out and say he is afraid that FEMA powers could be used to take over the country,,,,,old conspiracy theory he has...along with the UN taking over the U.S.A.

    What is so funny is the Tea party was started by people mad about TARP funding, which was started by BUSH, but the Republican's took over the Tea Party, and turned it against Obama, before the Tea Party could go after the real creators of TARP, the Republican Party....

    August 27, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Angy

    you have to stop and think who was ruining the country in '05. hummmmmm! bushy boy just flew over after Katrina. him and his crew couldn't care less about the people affected by Katrina. that is why fema didn't work.

    August 27, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. lgny

    Right or wrong, his timing is incredibly bad.

    This has to be the most idiotic headline at a time when a serious hurricane will impact on millions.

    August 27, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. MikeH

    Calling this a bad idea because it came from Ron Paul is the old Ad Hominem argument. I think Ron Paul is a flake, but he is the second-best Republican Presidential candidate in the running (behind John Huntsman, the only adult in the Republican party).

    On FEMA, Paul is is partly right. It is a bloated incompetent bureacracy founded on a good idea, then turned into something that's dangerous in the wrong hands (G.W. Bush comes to mind). Strip it of the all the powers Reagan gave it, fund it for emergency response only and put competent people in charge, and it should earn it's keep. Getting rid of it would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    (P.S. I'm wating for some Republican boot-licking toady to post something like: The earthquake and the hurricane are all Obama's fault. If he wasn't such a Kenyan socialist, Yaweh wouldn't send natural disasters to punish the United States)

    August 27, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Mary

    What the heck do you mean we don't need the government? It is the government that built Hoover Damn; it is the Government that passed OSHA to ensure safety on the job; oh what the heck. Let's go back to 1935 – that is what this is all about. Ron Paul and his son and their love of the AYN RAND philosophy of "every man for himself" are wrong. God help us of Perry wins. President Obama gets criticized for everything he does and he has been blocked in congress from the begining. The Tea Party was supposed to go in and take care of getting the economy started and jobs started and all they have done has been to be obstructionists. I know tha the American People are smarter than the pundits and everyone thinks – they will do the right thing in 2012. We can't and should not go back – forward and government has to do that. Government and NGO's can work together to fix what is wrong with this country. Wake up you anti's out there. Too much negativity and too much bull crap being said about government. Is there waste, of course but Ron Paul's ideas are truly outrageous. Definitely wing nuts!

    August 27, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. Jon

    Just remember what FEMA did at Katrina...

    August 27, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. Ladont

    Boy, Paul's a genius. Stop FEMA money ... stop Education money ... let the states pick up the bills.

    August 27, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Jake

    I agree. What exactly does FEMA do that can't be done by other government and private agencies? Nothing, Katrina proved that.

    August 27, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. Michael

    How many MORE examples of rampant racism fueling the campaigns of hypocritical politiciians do we need? As a white person, I am offended by this story and offended by ALL republican politicians including the black ones who think they're actually being accepted by the white conservatives.

    August 27, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. Norvy

    How absolutely selfish!! If a government agency has inefficiencies, you do not discontinue the agency, you put people in the key positions to make necessary changes for success!!!

    August 27, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. AGuest9

    Sure. Before FEMA, it fell to ad hoc programs and congressmen like Dan Flood to wheel and deal and celebrities like Bob Hope, Sean Connery and Jack Palance to run telethons to beg for money, and corporate charity from Proctor & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch and others to come to the aid of areas devastated.

    That's great that your church helped in a better fashion than FEMA. What happens when your church – and its members – no longer exist? Strangers only give a damn so much, and their memories and support don't last for months. Send a check lately to help the Red Cross with the tornadoes that occured down South? I didn't think so.

    August 27, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. TJC

    Seems that people don't want to pay for insurance (because it will be expensive) and instead they want someone else to pay when the storm hits. Same scenario as healthcare.

    August 27, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. DonnaJC

    KennyK, your argument about Ron Paul standing at the shores to make a speech while a hurricane is passing through only makes you look like an idiot. for anyone to be on the shores during a hurricane is only asking to get killed, nothing less, nothing more.Also, this isn't the first time he's ever made comments regarding FEMA and their ineffectiveness. I know firsthand, I live in FL, FEMA isn't near as great as a lot of folks think it is. Most of the people sitting there and praising FEMA and how good it is has never had first hand experience dealing with this agency so therefore don't have a clue.

    August 27, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. chris

    I have to agree with Dr. Paul on this.
    If we would just bring all of our troops home from their overseas military bases in Korea, Japan, Germany, etc, our Military men and women could had natural disaster emergencies...and at a much less expensive rate.
    Start thinking a little outside of the mainstream people, and wake up.
    Main stream politicians and main stream media haven't done anything good for you anyway.
    Dr. Paul might be the only smart man left in D.C.

    August 27, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  19. Lynel

    Dr. Paul is right on this one though FEMA has had time to improve its appearance and effectiveness since the last few hurricanes. I do believe the agency is unnecessary and gets in the way as they have delegate and much of their resources to the states, which know how to handle these disasters that happen within their borders. The federal government does play a role when we have these catastrophes to assist the states not to take over every aspect of emergency management, and get in the way of the individual and private organizations who have been helping with disasters long before they themselves "FEMA" was created. Dr. Paul is just stating the obvious GOVERNMENT gets in the way and creates more rules and regulations they believe is designed to help the people who are suffering but doesn't. As stated his district of Galveston was affected by the hurricane in 2005 and the response and effectiveness of FEMA was minuscule.

    August 27, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. Jae

    Ok let's go back to what the original constitution says: states makes decision to allow slavery woman cannot vote do all u agree?

    August 27, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Geezuz

    Amazing timing huh? I'm still weighing options on candidates but this is more of the main stream media working hard to discredit Ron Paul. I respect the man and if you pay attention to him and not the main stream news you see that he makes sense. There is still awhile to go before elections so I am very open but this type of obvious attacks makes me more and more cautious when reading CNN and other sites. I went from trusting that CNN had integrity in it's articles and having faith that they were honest and unbiased to actually typing a comment in defense of Mr Paul and I'm not on the team yet..geez...Now back to real issue of hoping people make it out safe from this Hurricane scenario.

    August 27, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  22. macallen23

    I think I'll sit back and watch how FEMA does when it's not being run by someone who's main experience is judging show horses. Then I'll make judgement.

    August 27, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  23. Greg Gilbert

    A bureaucracy does not respond good to adapting to an emergency which always has changing conditions. I would prefer the money spent elsewhere. This is the job of insurance, local leaders and the national guard.

    August 27, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sounds like Paul is saying "let the insurance companies take care of you" and that my friend would create the worst disaster than a hurricane. In fact insurance companies pull out in disaster areas.

    August 27, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  25. Scott

    Dear Ron Paul. In the days of the Galveston Hurricane people could rebuild because they hardly lost anything. Cities were collections of wooden buildings, people did their own home repair work, and were more self-sufficient (And poorer). Today, when cities are dizzying mazes of technology and complicated webs of resource allocation and most people dependent upon paychecks instead of farm yields, the comparison hardly applies. And BTW, many more people died for lack of help back then than do now. I'll take FEMA and emergency services.

    August 27, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
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