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. beevee

    I am shocked that highly educated people like Ron Paul think that we do not need FEMA. Surely there must be some agency that works for the Feds that oversees relief efforts. Middle class and low income people certainly need federal assistance in times of disasters like huricances. If not for the FEMA assistance they will have no where else to go for help. This guy is a fool just like the other GOP prsidential hopefuls.

    August 27, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. JSH

    First all one needs to do in order to understand how states and local governments cannot manage large natural disasters is to look at when the Federal Government go involved in such matters. It occurred after several big catastrophes but it was in the early 20th century, in the 1920s when the Mississippi River flooded in many places that it was seen as actually being more prudent to have a centralized and organized Federally directed effort in confronting such huge disasters. So to those who think that we don't need the Federal're NUTS just like RON PAUL-–>is NUTS! His followers are zealots and cannot stand nor stomach any criticism of him. Even when he exposes himself for the kooky guy that he is.

    August 27, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  3. Ava Jade

    What Is the Matter With That Ron Paul? He thinks disasters are better handled by charity and the free market, by free human cooperation, rather than by a gang of armed government agents taking the mafia approach.

    August 27, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. Chad

    The one think that bugs me about FEMA is how they can force the state military's to do what FEMA wants them to do. I'm in the state guard and I can tell you that we are forced to take FEMA courses and if we do not take these courses we cannot be called out to assist our fellow man in need. Second, if that state military isn't up to par with FEMA, then the state and the guard gets no funding and they will not be called out to help their state in time of need. FEMA is too big and dangerous. Ron Paul is right on this one.

    August 27, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  5. annieLD

    And we don't need Congress, either, Rep. Paul. Especially since it has come down to a handful of party leaders "negotiating" our laws behind closed doors. Or a 12-member "supercommittee" dictating to the 535 paid members of House and Senate the only bill they can vote on, without amendments. Why are we paying 535 salaries, benefits, office space and supplies, travel vouchers, phone bills, etc when only a few actually write the laws and NONE of them listen to any citizens except the ones that agree with them? We should just elect 12 Congressmembers at large every four years and put them up at a Holiday Inn for a few months to do the same job.

    August 27, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So the Libertarian and Republican idea is that Fema should be dissolved and replaced with a state agency more sensetive to their own needs. Since the Republicans have bankrupted every state that they have been in control of for the last 10 years, where is the money going to come from. They created huge deficits by giving tax credits to huge corporations and left nothing for disasters. Wasn't every Republican controlled state just fireing teachers because "we're broke"??

    August 27, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. Dina

    Nice CNN. You guys give practically nothing about Ron Paul. Didn't even mention he came in SECOND behind Michelle in the Iowa Straw Poll, but somehow manage to quote his position on FEMA during a hurricane as Latest News 'Trending'. Nope, no one's being bias over here...

    August 27, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. normajean

    To answer one question put forth regarding the states helping themselves. Do you really think that those states now being hit so badly have a "RAINY DAY FUND" just set aside for a disaster like this????? I don't think so!!!

    August 27, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. nunyapamakettle

    Why do I get the feeling that a large portion of the people commenting currently are not regular people but working for each of the campaigns? hmm

    August 27, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Bill

    I agree with very little with what he says, but I have to respect the fact that he is honest, consistent in his philosophy, intelligent and passionate. Not loontunes like Bach or quivering jello like Rom.

    I'll stick with my boy BO tho.

    August 27, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. Ernesto

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency so far has shelled out more than $6.9 billion to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Georges.That makes Georges the most costly hurricane in FEMA's history, according to Jose Bravo, the agency's chief for the Caribbean.

    August 27, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. peter

    "FEMA is not a friend of most people in Texas." Of course. Texans hate friends, especially when it's help for the poor. I think, Mr. Paul, that you are referring to the rich, who need nothing from anyone. Nothing, that is, beyond what they have already taken and continue to take.

    August 27, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Mo Hamhead

    He's saying let the states handle it. He's saying stop forcing U.S. citizens to send their money into Washington, DC to support a a massive, staggeringly expensive bureaucracy which adds another layer of cost and waste using even more borrowed money. He's saying stop fostering the dependency on the bankrupt U.S. fed gov in the first place.

    August 27, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. NooseJunkie

    Sounds good to me

    August 27, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. LIB

    Republicans want to dismantle a lot of government assistance but are not offering any options such as jobs. You can't complain about people having to live on the government while you sit at home in your million dollar mansion and are not coming up with ways to help people become financially independent. Not one of the republican candidates have come up with any job solutions either.

    August 27, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Ron Paul doesn't understand that much of the funding that states would use to start their own FEMA would come from the federal government. How does he understand that the states could do better? The problem is that many of the past FEMA directors were political appointees that often have little to no experience in disaster preparedness like George W. Bush's. With one well trained coordinator, many state and federal agencies can figure out what can be done and is needed. Doing something state by state moves things slower.

    August 27, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. Obama 2012

    Ron Paul is not this answer. This guy is way out there when it comes to caring for American citizens. So Ron do you have a plan? How would you handle it then? Why have you not warn the East coast Americans to seek fortified shelter? If the storm victims are without provisions, how would you help the storm victims recovery Ron Paul? I need to know if you where President how would you be prepare for at national emergency?

    At least Obama did do the right thing, cut the work vacation short. All these GOP want to be presidents just don't have any solutions. I;m sticking with Obama 2012. GO OBAMA GO

    August 27, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. opus512

    And once again Ron Paul proves why he will never go national.

    August 27, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Thomas Conway

    @Ralph – POSSIBLY didn't care ... BECAUSE so many were black? are you a mind reader? we don't need to make excuses as to the whys... you think it was racially motivated? don't be ridiculous – you make yourself sound ignorant even raising the argument – suffice it to say that the govt dropped the ball – doesn't matter who was where – the ball was dropped – to suggest that a majority of the population's ethnicity had something to do with it is absurd – IF they didn't want to help the BLACKS specifically – i'm sure they would have selectively sent in rescue for JUST the whites... ???? or are you suggesting that they decided to "sacrifice" X number of whites for the sake of securing the destruction of X number of blacks... does that make sense to you? stop making things a black and white issue – racism will be dead the day people can let it go and stop doing what you just did – way to keep racism alive

    August 27, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  20. MS

    WAKE UP PEOPLE. FEMA is an overblown government agency full of waste and useless politicians. The US government has funneled so much money into this organization, yet for the last couple of disasters it did nothing. In Alabama, this last spring people had their homes leveled, yet FEMA denied them aid. Don't believe it, do a google search. This agency has some serious problems. They are not here to help the American public, they have proven that time and time again. Every disaster they have handled incompetently. Based on the government documentation on this agency, they may have more sinister purposes. These prison camps they have built around the us should be a cause of Major concern for Americans. And they are prison camps, not relocation or temporary housing. Do the research, look it up.

    August 27, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. dave_in_altmar

    The more this guy runs his mouth, the further he sinks in the polls. Perfect.

    August 27, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Thomas Conway

    @konrad – i'm pretty sure he is going to go after the dept of homeland security – there isn't a constitutional mandate for them and ron already said he wants TSA disbanded as well as the Patriot Act, which of course allows us all to be spied on carte blanche – i hope it all goes away – the more the merrier – what he did say was that it would be gradual of sorts since there are a lot of federal workers who will have to assimilate into other industries – thats not to say ALL government workers will be gone, but redundancy will be addressed as well as depts whose function can be accomplished by private industry and on a state level – which should be good news since those in the fed positions will have a great chance of parallely transitioning into the private sector

    August 27, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. Obama voter

    I am proud of President Obama efforts to help the east coast US citizens in anyway he can. Ron Paul doesn't have faith in our FEMA agency at all. If the people on the east coast don't need FEMA Ron Paul, what is your next solution in helping them recovery? What plan would you have already in place after the hurricane disaster hits? I didn't see any suggestion for other emergency plan of action from the other GOP contender. Either way I don't see a plan that indicates the GOP contenders caringabout what happen to our east coast citizens.

    August 27, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. joe

    Oh some of these comments are funny. I love Ron Paul. He tells the truth. He tells the jackasses in both parties and the leaches in society just what he thinks. That's why he has my vote. Look dipshits, I don't live on the gulf coast or the east coast. I could care less about "rebuilding" you dipshits in a hurricane path. I don't want to send my cash to Washington to have some politician redistribute my wealth for you. I buy insurance and can wipe my own ass. If it was a true disaster I would give to the red cross a few bucks, because I'm so kind hearted. This was nothing more than a big storm with lots of rain. Can't handle a big storm and go to relatives or friends houses? You need me to wipe your ass? Enjoy your controller politicians like the worthless Jew Bloomberg and the Federal Agents telling you what do about a big storm. If you feel you need assistance from the Feds for a storm then so be it. On second thought, hell I'll never give to the Red Cross again. Go ask the Federal Gov't, FEMA, and the rich controller Jew to wipe your ass. Since when did Americans start peeing in there pants over nothing?

    August 27, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. bill486

    Righties hate FEMA because it was created during the Carter administration; it worked just fine until it was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security....the creation of President Frank Burns to hand out "gubmint" money to all his friends....THAT'S what needs to be eliminated! Hell, it never should have been allowed to be created in the first place.

    Just more evidence George "Ferret Face" Bush was never to be trusted.

    August 27, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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