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. Debra

    How long do we have to continue to listen to this old fool? How many times does he feel he needs to run for the Presidency before he'll understand it isn't ever gonna happen? And his progeny is as insane as he is. He and Ayn Rand can go get a house by the sea together but not get any governmental services, like water, wastewater, no gas, electricity, no paved streets leading to their house, nothing. This idiot and his Libertarian clowns make me sick to my stomach. I would love to have him face a family who has lost everything to a natural disaster and hear him tell them they don't need federal disaster relief. Idiot!

    August 27, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. BlackDynamite

    Ron Paul will ATTEMPT to change America. If you let him. If Congress let's him.

    August 27, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. Beefburger

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation."

    Funny that. I am willing to bet that while containing no slurs, epithets, or other gross language violations, that my earlier comment will not be posted for its negative statements of FEMA.

    August 27, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. Chris

    Wow lots of clowns on this message board -

    @John – Yeah no gov't – That works well in Somalia and Afghanistan's regions away from Kabul – Go visit
    @Eric C – You honestly think that one state is going to VOLUNTARILY give their money to another state - Ha - That money will make it into some politician's friends business with some overpriced repair contract so that his friend can give him a donation when he runs for office in a few years
    @Marcus – So you think that you are smarter at helping out in an emergency that FEMA – Did you stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night or something along those lines? I have a pair of degrees and I'm pretty sure I would need some sort of disaster training or expertise to deal with massive health and infrastructure problems but you must be a cross between Einstein/Clara Barton/Herbert Hoover

    August 27, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. QuietStormX

    The GOP republicans say one thing but do the other and try to take credit. The Be on your own party while the republicans raid the purse of the U.S. for their so called friends. That's not good for States or America. FEMA is to help people get back on their feet after natural disasters. It's what yout Taxes are for.

    August 27, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. NoTags

    Ron Paul wants to eliminate everything. He's just a frustrated old man that could never achieve his dream of becoming President.

    August 27, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. dinak

    It makes sense. If FEMA really only has few thousand employees, then they can't possibly do much more than push papers around. It's the States that handle disasters. The Feds could send some military to take care of a lot, and we can get rid of FEMA.

    August 27, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. Remember This

    We'll just have to remember in 2012 what this wannabe said about not allocating the funds for Texas when it was hit by Hurricane Ike thereby depriving the state of much needed funds to recover! Now we really know he is NOT for Texas and will do Texas no good and irreparable harm to the nation should he get elected prez but Fat Chance that he EVER would!

    August 27, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Mary555

    I wonder if the people on the east coast with hurricane damage agree with paul?

    August 27, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Tom

    Dr. Paul is right on this one. FEMA did nothing but get in the way of local stores, volunteers, state and local authorities who wanted to help out during Wilma. They only came in AFTER the fact and screwed things up completely!

    August 27, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. Vince

    This is why voting for him is like throwing your vote away. Actually this might be a dead heat for the legalization of heroin.

    August 27, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. Way Screwed

    Another hit piece. Those that have minds will understand. Those without brains will buy everything hook, line and sinker. Remember, Ron's comments were censored. You did not hear the whole thing.

    August 27, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. raj

    It's individual & state responsibility to take care of them, why should fed gov pay for it ? It promotes milliner to buy house close to beach so FEMA can provider coverage also govt is helping in flood insurance etc,,

    August 27, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. NamCbtVet

    Paul is a fool and deserves no further media coverage. FEMA and its predecessor agencies exist because no one state can handle major disasters on its own. Couple that with states like Texas which consistently cut budgets instead of addressing issues, the feds are the agency of choice to get the job done. Unless, of course, the POTUS is a GWB-type who appoints totally incompetents to high offices and then wants to cut funding because the agency isn't doing anything. Perry is from Texas and he would be no different from Paul or Bush.

    August 27, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. mg

    It's statements like these that make Ron Paul a fringe candidate and why he'll never have the support of many americans. Most people realize that there are some natural disasters that local and state governments can't deal with, and that only a federal agency that can bring the resources of the federal government to bear can handle big natural disasters. If you want to reform Fema, fine, but to say that we don't need it is an irresponsible statement.

    August 27, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. Mike

    Right ... because the state of Louisiana handled Katrina so well when Bush effectively neutered FEMA by letting Michael Brown run it.

    August 27, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  17. Jim in PA

    Ron Paul is right again! He's currently polling 3rd for the GOP nomination. RESTORE AMERICA NOW!

    August 27, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  18. WhackyWaco

    Ron Paul has some good ideas, but age has caught up with him. People will not vote for an old person.

    August 27, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  19. hopeismyname

    I would have to say that any representative that is connected with the teaparty and is arguing for less government and the elimination of various federal agencies should also immediately see the removal of said government agencies and services from their constituency starting immediately....let their constituents that voted them in live in the environment of only local government and see how long they last before they start seeking government many of these states...declared emergencies before hurricane Irene came anywhere near their borders just to make sure that they would get federal dollars for repair and reconstruction....North Carolina was right there with it's hand out....hmmmm...doesn't sound much like a state that want's less federal government to me.....

    August 27, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  20. ken

    If one examines the things Ron Paul says objectively and unemotionally , and in the light of the US Constitution, reasonable people always find he is correct. Statists and advocates of a centralized welfare state without property rights, their thoughts based on premises that make most free people shudder, will find otherwise.

    August 27, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. Donovan

    Cut FEMA? Ron Paul is out of his mind. If anything we should increase their funding ten-fold. Why not, our budget and country are doing fine and we don't need to cut anything!! Especially FEMA. I'm voting for Michelle Bachman so I can get $2 gas again.

    August 27, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Elaine says "They would dismantle the Federal gov't to the point that we wouldn't even look like the United States anymore". WHAT?!? You DO realize that the Founding Father's designed the Federal government to be small and limited in power, right? They were strongly influenced by the concentration of power observed in the British monarchy. I doubt they would have approved of FEMA either...and yet we have people throwing stones at Paul because the government safety net wouldn't exist. Hate to tell you this, but FEMA is bloated, inefficient, and unnecessary. States, and especially local governments, are perfectly capable of delivering the same services more effectively and efficiently.

    August 27, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. Andrew

    Yes we are the united states. And yes we help people and each other. Thats exactly why we don't need fema. Same with welfare. Before govt welfare purple took care of each other. I doubt if any one has ever starved in america since 1865, gone without a meal sure. But the world isn't prefect.
    Point Is today there is less private aid to the poor because of welfare and another 40 years of fema and there will be alot less private aid for disaster relief.
    The government is socializing carrying and putting people out of the job of caring for each other.

    August 27, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  24. Kudu

    I haven't seen a program yet that FEMA has been involved in that hasn't been mucked up. There are more Federal agencies that could be done away with but their employees are many and loud. They will scream like a mashed cat!

    August 27, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. libertynow

    Why should I have to pay because people want to live on beaches that are prone to this kind of disaster. If their state can not handle it they need to build up their states response systems not rely on Feds and then bitch about it later. FEMA is a waste of money states have national guard, fire departments, police and hey!! how about getting off your own ass and helping your neighbor?? That is what they did before FEMA and guess what? Life went on people rebuilt etc. The federal government is not there to give you perfect safety and bail you out when your insurance company fails to pay. If you are worried about hurricanes move to the mid west or suck it up and pay for your own property when it is damaged. I do not live on a beach and should not have to subsidize people who do.

    August 27, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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