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. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The only person who makes Ron Paul look half way intelligent is his clueless son. The people of Kentucky must be so proud.

    August 27, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. Laramie

    The notion that a single state can amass adequate financial and logistical resources to handle an emergency, when the very emergency cripples the state's ability to function, is beyond silly. It's like saying a doctor can take care of himself, even when he is unconscious and dying.

    August 27, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. ricky

    i like how posters are saying "most of america is against fema" when in reality THEY are against fema. they assume the rest of the country is against it too since it's impossible for them to fathom that they are nearly alone in their beliefs. how funny that is to me!

    August 27, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Scott

    AND BTW, Marcus, FEMA probably also saved the communities they isolated from looting, and prevented people from wandering into unsafe conditions. I'll hear their side of the story before genuflecting to the religion of Government Can Do No Right.

    August 27, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Steven Bannister

    Did Ron Paul say we don't need police or firemen or volunteers? NO. He said we didn't need FEMA.

    And I agree. I once worked for FEMA. During an actual disaster they're a pretty decent operation (although nothing the locals couldn't take care of themselves) But during "down time" (Ie between disasters) FEMA is a HUGE waste of time and money. They sit around in the office, fax meaningless paperwork to each other, make meaningless press statements and then have about 3 hours of diversity training. That's it – and I'm not kidding.

    America did just fine before FEMA and we'll do just fine after FEMA. Ron Paul is right. Time to pull the plug.

    August 27, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Mike Fleissner

    The country needs FEMA a whole lot more than it needs ron paul or his supporters.

    August 27, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Kwesoe

    It's called dementia. Next thing, he'll start saying we don't need the sun, we don't need the department of defense and son on. If he thinks people should help one another at all times, why isn't he helping the unemployed, those without healthcare or the ones who go to bed bungry every night? Shame!

    August 27, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. 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, then our Military men and women could handle natural disaster emergencies...and at a much less expensive rate because they are already on the clock!
    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 & honest man left in D.C.

    August 27, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Amazed2

    If it's not benefitting the rich we don't need it! Right GOP?!

    August 27, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. DonnaJC

    Elaine, you seem to be paranoid that we'll all just revert back to the 1700-1800's mentality.. what you fail to see is that most of the prejudices that you've mentioned have never went away and will always be around and gov't does not prevent it.. many biz's still discriminated and so so restaurants, ie, the casey anthony jurors will not be served (classic example).. what you're saying is nothing more than propaganda and brain washing. Also, the comment that only people with the means will be able to educate their children, I disagree wholeheartedly.. doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, if you get up off your butt, you can educate your children and it doesn't have to be in a classroom with a bell ringing to tell them when they can get up and move.. reminds me of a rat in a maze and it would move whenever the scientist rang the bell and stop when the bell stopped ringing.. mmm brings to mind the term, sheeple.

    August 27, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Tim

    I think Ron Paul has a good point. Imagine if the States had all that FEMA money. People would not be sitting around in disaster zones waiting for the Federal Goverment to respond like during Katrina.

    August 27, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. JD in Moraga, CA

    Must be lovely, living in the 19th century.

    August 27, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. somewhereinthemiddle

    The vision of the Patriots was to have government protect our lives, our liberties, and our pursuit of happiness. FEMA failed in the wake of Katrina. The answer isn't to get rid of FEMA, but to insist that an agency like this must help our fellow citizens in a time of dire need.

    August 27, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. Ron

    Perfect. Whatever chance he had is now, certainly, gone forever!

    August 27, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. Your Name Here

    I couldn't care less about what Ron Paul thinks. Fine no FEMA, but the cash will keep flowing and like floodwaters while people turn to i dunno maybe joe the plumber to drain the crud away.

    August 27, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. James

    FEMA is far from perfect, but if they didn't have an agency that provided storm warnings, helped with evacuations, etc., there would be many more deaths than there are. The Tea Party would just gut the U.S. of every crucial service to the country. The Tea Party is the real parasite.

    August 27, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. skarphace

    This reinforces my prediction that Perry will win the Republican nomination. Paul and Bachmann don't realize that when they say things like 'abolish FEMA' they lose voters. Perry also believes that these programs should be cut, it is the Tea Party platform afterall, but he will not say so explicitely in public.

    Of the 4 frontrunners, this leaves Perry and Romney, and we all know that Romney is seen as a RINO by most Republicans and therefore will slowly lose support.

    This leaves Perry. Perry vs Obama in 2012. This is my prediction.

    August 27, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  18. HeyArchie

    Makes sense to me. If you need any evidence that FEMA is total joke after seeing what they did after Hurricane Katrina, you're the nut!

    ITT: People implying that without FEMA, we would allow thousands to starve and die. Give us more credit than that, people. Volunteers and churches are ALWAYS ready to help after natural disasters. FEMA gets in the way!

    August 27, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  19. MIke smith

    WTF? They hinder people? Maybe its not a bad idea to have people to head back into flooded areas until its safe. Did he have a bowl of stupid for breakfast?

    August 27, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. josh nc

    Why should people in montana pay for the damages that occur when people build in hurricane prone areas? Why is private insurance not good enough? People, wake up! We don't need the government and its enourmously inefficiant agencies to take care of all things. Let private insurance companies deal with the financial damages, that's what they are in existance for. Get the government out of our lives. Get them out of our wallets and then we can take better care of ourselves. I have a contract with my insurance company – they will repair the very minor damage I sustained during irene in a timely fashion. I have no contract with fema, they don't conduct business with a customer first attitude, name one thing they can do that private companies and citizens couldn't do better.

    August 27, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Jason

    Sure, you can consider FEMA as ineffective but to completely close the agency is ridiculous. Disasters don"t always strike in one city or one state. Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes can occur over a number of states at any given time. They can even occur in very quick successions from each other. So if local resources are stretched to the limits because several disasters occurred withing a short time span, what then? Disasters can even occur in places where it's least expected. An ice storm can come out of nowhere in Florida. An earthquake can occur in the East Coast. A hurricane can travel all the way up to New England. No matter how well funded or trained a local emergency management is, they will not be always prepared for every single disaster. There will always be one that they least expect and are not equipped for. What should happen to them when this happens?

    August 27, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. bailoutsos

    "Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA" –"Huntsman jumps ahead with jobs plan" -- Why is it no one has solutions until they are running for president?

    August 27, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. keith

    Ron Paul is an is Rick Perry but Paul voted against the funding to goto Texas after that hurricane and in turn caused Rick Perry to complain that the state of Texas isn't being helped.....geeez what morons we have in politics this year

    August 27, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  24. lordpet

    how many stupid things does he have to say before people start ignoring him? The Fed has more money to throw at a disaster than any state. The various response effectiveness of FEMA varies in direct proportion to who is President: Clinton, FEMA was properly staffed. Bush, you had a horse guy running it and therefore FEMA was compromised.

    August 27, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. MIke smith

    For the moron that wants his church to help instead, let me know how that works out for the east coast disaster going on right now. Its amazing how clueless some people are to the scope and magnitude of these events.

    August 27, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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