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. ruemorgue

    Thus spake the Zealot. This clown doesn't think or check the facts, he just spouts his theological beliefs as the *truth*. Senile moron should be in nursing home slubbering while he eats his pre-chewed eggplant.

    August 27, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    It isn't that we don't need FEMA, it's that we don't need FEMA to be run by an incompetent political appointee like it was during the W administration. Let's see how FEMA does this time around. If they do a decent job, maybe it will show that was we really don't need is a republican appointee in charge of FEMA.

    August 27, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. ExLonghorn

    blue j in cali, say what??? of COURSE Paul doesn't believe the Federal government should not provide benefits to the poor. That is not, and never was intended to be, the role of the Federal government. Note that Paul never says that the poor should not receive help. He has never said that. He simply believes that such support should come from local governments and charities. What is so horrifically wrong with that?

    August 27, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. saywut?

    As someone who has worked hurricane relief for FEMA I know first hand that not all but alot of it is a waste of money. After Ike and Gustav in 2008 FEMA paid Crown roofing 1.35 cents per square foot of blue tarp installed. In roofing we refer to 100 square foot as 1 square. The usual house here in Texas costs around 55-75 dollars per square labor and material. That means FEMA was paying 135 dollars per square(or per 100 sq ft.) to put on blue roofs. That is almost twice the cost as it would be to just completely re-roof the house to begin with. The Contractors, after getting paid 1.35 per sq foot, paid its workers 0.18 cents down to 0.10 cents per sq ft to install blue roof and the workers were still making 800 a week. Also keep in mind that the blue roofs only stay on for a week or two until the homeowner can get insurance to pay for the new roof.

    August 27, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. Brandon

    Yes, Ron Paul has the right idea to get rid of fema. They are a waste of tax dollars. The National guard can assist if there is a situation and so can the red cross

    August 27, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. republitardsareputas

    Ralph you are right FEMA is only as effective as whose running US government what party the President is. We should at least be thankful that the President is a Democrat. They at least care for the people can you imagine a Republican President
    like the dufus they had in office during the Katrina disaster be in charge during this disaste AGAINr. Just when I thought Ron Paul was the least insane in that party.

    August 27, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  7. zzzzz

    An earthquake, hurricane...with a Republican field like this, Obama's going to win by a landslide.

    August 27, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  8. pastmorm

    Wow, yet another insane, greedy idea from an insane greedy republican.

    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  9. Wes

    Ron Paul and his son are two bricks shy of a load. They should be living on the frontier when America was being colonized. They would have made good slave plantation holders, have it their way, no other way and think that modern society is sub par to their weird way of thinking. These two clowns would love to see America as it was during child labor and hard times and robber barons living filthy rich while the average American was being worked to death and workers at textile mills in Gastonia, North Carolina were being shot women and children because they didn't want the government to tell the mill owners they couldn't kill their workers either through working them to death or shooting them.

    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  10. Grand Oil (and Tea) Partiers

    We don't need Republicans Ron.

    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  11. Joshua

    Those words are cute and all, but I wonder if people would be saying the same had FEMA had been commanded by someone like James Lee Witt rather than Hekuvajob Brownie. Remember that? Bush gave the FEMA job to a horse judge. And that's partly why FEMA is in the mess it was. I just wonder of people are going to still say the same should FEMA come through after Irene. Don't forget that FEMA offers low-interest loans for essential home repairs after disasters.

    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. Tom

    What needs to happen is all these 3rd world countries needs to send us some finacial support like we do them. We haelp everyone with nothing in return. Japan? Hell they have a great income flow we go there and where ever else. Bill Gates invests all his money to Africa for aids and we have Americans on the street. We need to actually stop ALL foriegn support and we can help our own out Plus Obamie needs to stop those 10 million dollar vacations. I'm just sayin

    August 27, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. LindyU

    He is correct about this – but the MOST important point in the whole article is the snippet about him voting AGAINST a bill that would've funnelled BILLIONS into HIS DISTRICT. When have you ever seen a politician stick to his principles and be as consistent as Ron Paul. I love this guy.

    August 27, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  14. Brian

    Really? Why is this "news"? You couldnt even wait until the hurricane is gone before trying to slam someone. I don't even care about Paul–but why cant we have unbiased news? This story is clearly simply an attempt to make Paul look bad–basically you are dredging up comments made in the past and using this hurricane as a way to highlight it.

    I just wish I could watch/read/listen to the news without clearly seeing the political bias underneath the story.

    August 27, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. Troy

    I find it quite disturbing just how many people on here are bashing the congressman for simply stating the obvious. FEMA needs to be either reformed, or preferably, replaced by state and regional agencies which can respond quicker and more effectively. Pouring billions into areas in order to just tell people what to do is pointless.

    Return to allowing states and regions well, I don't know, actually have a say in their own governance sounds like a good idea, or I guess I am too radical along with Ron Paul.

    America used to praise ideas, now they bash them.

    August 27, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  16. Bullet

    Went through Rita, Ike and caught the effects (displaced people) of Katrina. I saw what FEMA did. Staged relief supplies and equipment in MAINE! Took them days to get in and set up. Power companies have crews from other states staged and working before the winds get below 30 in most cases. Took time but the power people were through LONG before FEMA and did way more good. Private vs. Government. Just one example. Ron Paul is right. FEMA does more hurt than good in most cases.

    August 27, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  17. Sylvestre Apolonio

    Whose idea was it to create these institutions in the first place? I am sure that whomever concieved and created these institutions saw the need for them in our society. Some might have outgrown their purpose to the extent, where they infringe on our rights.
    Advocating to eliminate certain institutions provide for good sound bites for the politician . Ron have made some bold statements and hardly offers alternative approaches and most importantly never consider the least of his brethren who the institutions were intentioned for.
    Instead of preaching elimination Ron, what about streamline? We live in a dynamic and evolving world.

    August 27, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. dan in capitola

    These reckless and insensitive comments will come back to haunt Paul. Someone needs to tell him we already fought a civil war over "states rights" and we're not going back to 1860.

    August 27, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. John

    Cut Fema and give more tax cuts the Millionaires and billionaires. You know the job creators. The Tea Party/GOP are right wing fanatics intent on destroying America. They nearly pushed America over a cliff during the debt ceiling debate. They are out of touch with the vast majority of Americans......

    August 27, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  20. Stacy

    I agree 100 percent with Dr. Paul. Local Level should be responsible for their own territories. It is not being selfish at all, it is just holding the States and Counties responsible for their area's without it costing everyone. They should budget accordingly to the history of their State and Counties possible tragedies. If a State or County lets say gets struck by Hurricanes 2 or 3 times a year should Tax Payers who chose not to live in them areas have to pay higher taxes to cover the cost of rebuilding the same places over and over again. People choose where they wish to live and have their businesses located. It should be the state, county, insurance and owners who are responsible for their own areas. Example ;If I put a House on the peak of a mountain and the wind blew it off of the mountain 3 times a year and Fema stepped in to build me a bigger house each time it happened then two things would happen, I would keep placing my house on top of that same mountain and the tax payers investment in that one persons decision to keep living on that mountain would keep the party going. The State and Counties have the powers to stop this kind of activity where it seems to not matter at all when it comes to spending Federal money. How many times are we planning to rebuild, when these people are the ones not willing to move to a less devastating place. Just because a person wants their backdoor to be on the Ocean front, why is it America's responsibility to keep them their after waves tote the house away. If that State or County wishes to have Houses backdoor on the Ocean then they need to make their on adjustments to do that and not make everyone pay for their decisions.

    August 27, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. MannyHM

    Scary thought that FEMA or a relabeled agency is nowhere to be found. Irresponsible comments here from Ron Paul.
    Ron Paul is a physician. OK, I never had any surgery, does that mean that surgeon are not needed ?
    FEMA should be improved and monitored closely for irregularity, not kill it.

    August 27, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. sqeptiq

    If Ron Paul were elected we would jump right straight to third world status in a month.

    August 27, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. hopeismyname

    I would also like to hope that no state that has declared a state of emergency for Hurricane Irene and are hoping for federal dollars would then dare to nominate a tea party fav or libertarian to their republican ticket...they are certainly purist in their philosophy and need to stand firm on their basic fundamental principals...otherwise they would be ya think???

    August 27, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  24. normajean

    The people that seem to talk the loudest with a sense of knowing more than anyone else are always these smart a-s politicians who have never faced a real crisis in their lives...They would be the first screaming for help from any government agency at the first sight of danger to them or theirs!!! Of course there are problems...major problems, with these government run organizations but mostly they do help and thousands would be lost without them.Example Fema. In some areas of their work they have been a major part of others they have failed miserably, but without them....we'd have nothing which is just what Ron Paul is suggesting!! I'd prefer a little help to none at all!!!!!

    August 27, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |

    I live in Louisiana ... during Katrina Fema stopped people from helping...there were many people with boats that wanted to go get those people sitting on their houses and or bring in water and food...they were stopped by guns and badges...hell I wanted to go fishing 4 hours before the storm and they had closed access to the fishing areas ... you might not think that is a good idea...but guess what...It ain't none of your buisiness... that is what freedom is...people around here can, have and will take care of their own ... and some of us live where the wind blows 120 mph and your house disappears...tell me that if you live here you don't know that might happen...HA...maybe fema can arrest you for trying to help or give a bunch of false claim varmits government handouts to replace their big screen tvs or maybe give you a formaldahyde trailer killing jar all costing ten times what it should ... that kind of help we don't need... I think some of you guyS oughta move to china...I hear the government takes REAL GOOD care of you there. Ron Paul is like Frodo...he's the only one that can handle the ring of power without being corrupted all the way to hell...Ron Paul or Not at All..2012

    August 27, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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