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. The Cult of Ron Paul

    I like how people like Ron Paul make blanket statements about constitutionality, but their words are really hollow. It says in the constitution that congress as the duty to provide for the common defense on the nation, and the general welfare. Ron Paul should do his job, as a member of congress, and make sure that everyone who is effected by acts of nature, thru no fault of their own, have every reasonable opportunity to recover form such a catastrophic.

    August 28, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  2. Scott

    Generally I like Ron Paul, but I think this is a stupid statement from him. The government should be involved in disaster management at the federal level. He also is, or at least was, a racist. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary to end the practice of states trampling on the rights of American citizens. I believe in a strong federal government. Ron Paul believes in states rights instead, so I tend not to support him. And for someone who supposedly supports term limits, he has continually sought to be in Congress more than I would like. He has been in office since the 1970s, so he has been in office for far too long. And another thing I dislike about Ron Paul is not about him, but rather his followers. They act like a religious cult and treat every word he says as gospel.

    August 28, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  3. john olson

    I agree. People in Washington should not pay for the people in another state, just as the should not pay for us. Instead of collecting tax dollars and putting it towards the federal nightmare – it could be put back into the local communities in which one lives. But... what to do when the only jobs government can create are... government jobs.... ha. Hope this man gets elected in 2012!

    August 28, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. peakarach

    Run Paul used to make sense.

    August 28, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  5. Alec

    After FEMA's handling of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, I agree with Ron Paul.

    August 28, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  6. joe

    Fema will be their to escort you to the concentration fema camps when martial law is impose because of some pre-scripted crisis. Abolish fema reestablish and help states handle the crisis.Right now we are losing our freedoms because our government is justifying all these wars and actions because of 9/11. The truth will come out. We been had. Eliminate all these government departments such as cia, fbi, etc. End the private bankers control over all of us. End the fed.

    August 28, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  7. Jeff Gosch

    CNN is being very odvious with the agenda here,ignore Ron Paul till an over-hyped storm hits the east coast and then post a story (complete with unflattering picture) about his criticism of FEMA. Its no wonder more and more Americans are skeptical of mainstream media.

    August 28, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  8. Brent C

    Dr. Ron Paul is a voice of sanity.
    Central government is not he best way to handle local disasters.

    August 28, 2011 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  9. gastrafitis

    LOL at you guys critizing what Dr. Paul has said here. First of all, he is NOT a libertarian. Why does so many people think that? He's repairing lost liberties and constitutional interpretation. Look up the libertarian party, he hardly fits at all there. He's an old school republican who has a firm history of being honest, and loyal to the people of America and doesn't commit radical decisions like allowing the death penalty upon innocent people (ya like another candidate you hardly know anything about.) Anyway second, he's absolutly right about FEMA. That money could be put to good use like actually EMERGENCY FUNDS, and not liberty regulators who tell you that you cant go in and save your wife in your house 3 miles away just because it's too dangerous. Man, what is with these people so hard at criticizing something they know almost nothing about!? Ahh never mind, there probly under the influense of caffeine or alcohol or something.

    August 28, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  10. TraderSteve

    Paul is right in one way: We didn't need the FEMA under George Bush since it was run by the former Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association .... Now that competence is back, we should be happy that they are there.

    August 28, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  11. Jessa

    Starting to feel Irene now, evacuated earlier today upon request... still think he's right. Stop getting all butthurt people.. he's not advocating against disaster relief, he's trying to get rid of costly, ineffective government agencies. We're broke!

    August 28, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  12. TripleA

    Poor little Ronnie. He’s never been the same after the space aliens dropped him on his head into Roswell, NM, back in ’47.

    August 28, 2011 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  13. James

    Well, well, well....a Ron Paul story on the mainstream media. How long will this stay up?

    August 28, 2011 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  14. joe

    I tend to agree here. Having been involved in past FEMA storm clean up/rebuilding efforts I can attest to the waste that it costs our tax payers. FEMA exagerates on all damage estimates. They are noted for being very slow in progressing and can cause severe headaches for anyone who may rock the boat or question their actions. Private enterprise could perform the same function at 1/2 of the cost and in 1/3 of the time. I believe it was developed with good intentions but the inefficient red tape has cost it it's effectiveness. Do you remember the millions which were inadvertedly distributed to some Katrina victims? FEMA was ordered to reclaim these funds 3 years ago but still have not. They believe themselves to be above others authority.

    August 28, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  15. Derek

    He's absolutely right. How good did FEMA do down in New Orleans after Katrina? Or any of the numerous floods? How much "donated" goods did they let sit and rot? And after you ask yourself those questions, ask yourself how much funding FEMA gets per year. Yep.. Ron Paul is nuts right? I mean.. who honestly wants to get rid of a bloated, overpriced Federal program that does a terrible job? Certainly not me. In fact lets give em more money. :: Sigh ::

    August 28, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  16. yoga enthusiast

    Ron Paul is an ambulance chaser. He never has anything good to say, just negative. I know FEMA has hd it's problems, but it appears they have fixed may of them. If I was struck by some massive tragedy, I'd sure want them on my side and not ron paul. What a downer he is. His time never came, but it sure has gone.

    August 28, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  17. Dave

    I love how Ron Paul opposed FEMA for the longest time, and CNN decided to tell everyone JUST AS Irene hits the coast. Nice try, guys, 1/10 for effort.

    August 28, 2011 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  18. Good stuff

    How can anyone support this guy? So the federal government should do nothing during overwhelming catastrophes?

    August 28, 2011 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  19. Tommy Baby

    Looks like half and half on the thumbs up. .That means he gets 50% of the vote. Winner!

    August 28, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  20. ahetch

    RP thinks that local government would have been more effective in Katrina? That's the biggest laugh of the day.

    August 28, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  21. Robert

    I think he makes an interesting point. I believe every state already has an emergency agency. Ideally, people in all states pay federal taxes, some of which go to fund FEMA. So in theory, states that suffer hardly any disasters are paying a lot of money toward states that regularly do, which seems a bit unfair. But, being "united" there is some inherent "collective" behavior that makes sense. But, if Texas for example has a disaster agency in place, and FEMA gets involved, they (on the federal level) override the state level. If the federal level is not as knowledgeable as those on the state level, they will not be as effective in their management.

    I don't think I would have a problem getting rid of FEMA and letting states handle their own emergencies. Short-term, it would mean job loss, but it could also save federal money. And long-term, it likely would save money all around.

    August 28, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  22. the blue cadet

    look into nazi germany history.. guess what.. they too created a fema agency...JUST SAYIN..

    you dont need a federal agency telling you what you can and cant do..

    supply aid? ok...

    forcing evacuations.. gun confiscations.. so on... NO THANKS

    August 28, 2011 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  23. Chip Connors

    Google the term: Camp FEMA 1 and 2
    Watch the movies
    See for yourself

    August 28, 2011 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  24. thunder1road

    If you don't like the government, next time you need a paramedic, call the Tea Party.

    FEMA was OK until Bush appointed "Heckuva Job Brownie" to head the agency, a man whose sole qualification for the job was that he had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican Party.

    August 28, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  25. Drama Llama

    Yeah, cuz you know, when your entire neighborhood is destroyed by a natural disaster, the market will take care of you and you can just man up and buy yourself a new house, right? RIGHT?!

    Why is Ron Paul even a U.S. Congressman much less a contender for President?

    August 28, 2011 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
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