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. microburst

    Ron Paul has the answers and also has the biggest gonads of any gop , try topping that. research ronpaul on the net and then resaerch any of the other GOP on the net or records. anyone who uses the term teabagger is brainwashed by media.
    give power back to the states , fema is a waste of time and money. sure i can make up a gov. agnecy and call it gca
    (grass cutters agency) the gov. will cut everyones grass and tax you for it and poor billions of $s into it. yeah what a waste of money that would be to. but hey your grass is cut thats good right? to many people use to haven there hands held
    is overwhelming those who dont need there hand held , which will make this difficult. Ron Paul has the gonads and i applaud him for it and he has my vote.

    August 28, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  2. clickron

    I live in Florida. Florida Emergency Management is good. Along with the Red Cross and volunteers, they handle it all. FEMA was a waste, showing up 3 to 7 days later with clip boards to create reports. This is nothing but a bureaucracy wasting billions. Ron Paul is right.

    August 28, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  3. Glen

    I would have to agree with Ron Paul. I don't need anybody to tell me what to do or what I can't do. It is my life. It is a waste of money that the government could use to reduce the deficit. There are plenty of other agencies to help those in need. Although I have no use for most republicans, once in a while they have a good idea. The government wastes way too much our my money and I resent it. I am happy to pay taxes when they are used for good. There is too much corruption in government and always has been. President Obama is trying but has no cooperation from republicans.

    August 28, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  4. BenHughesStudios

    I don't think people are even understanding this. "And the Titanic didn't need life boats?"

    that is a horrible analogy. This doesn't mean that we don't need people to deal with disasters. It's just that we don't need FEDERAL agencies to be responsible for it. It should be left to the STATES. The states should make their own emergency management agency. Why not have an NYEMA or a TEMA? It would be more effective and wouldn't contribute to the federal defecit.

    August 28, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. Texas Bob

    No one has stated the point. If we do away with FEMA, then in a Ron Paul presidency, relief agencies will be free to help only white people. That is the objective of most Ron Paul supporters if not Ron Paul himself.

    August 28, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  6. clickron

    First picture you see of a federal FEMA worker pulling someone from a burning building let me know. They are nothing but after-thought and actually get in the way of the real heros.

    August 28, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  7. Drew

    Dr. Ron's been saying this for some time now and it's rejected by the entitlement society that he also speaks about. The Federal government doesn't have the money to spend on this and many more entitlement programs. I, and probably he feels, that in a perfect world with an endless amount of money all of these entitlements and even more would be most humanitarian. This article, which by the way, is moving up the headline news roster instead of lower as each day passes because of hurricane Irene, is welcomed publicity to all who believe in Dr. Ron Paul. How about posting more Ron Paul news CNN?

    August 28, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  8. debra reddish

    Once again, Ron Paul is right on target! I agree with Marcus.........

    August 28, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  9. Ronald

    Can you say "last was the last nail in the coffin?"

    August 28, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  10. George

    Instead of constantly paying out funds to keep FEMA on hand in case of disaster, why not wait until a disaster happens and then spend the money to help by turning to private businesses. On the one hand it saves money by not paying for a guard(FEMA) to stand around waiting, and on the other hand stimulates the economy of the region affected by creating jobs in the private sector, albeit temporary jobs. Mainly its the savings from not paying FEMA to stand around, sometimes for many years with nothing to do.

    August 28, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  11. Jman

    I live in Joplin, MO and when the EF5 hit they did a good job. However, so did the local police departments. Actually, the local police officers had to drive all the FEMA dudes & dudettes around, because they had no idea where everything was. In sum, I concur with Dr. Paul: waste of $$. Let the citizens, church, local, and state governments take care of it. The citizens of Joplin, Missouri, & America helped eachother out more than anyone else could and especially the CHURCH.. Good stuff.

    August 28, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  12. brianTX

    Have to agree. It's not fair that I pay for the view you enjoy because I didn't force you to live there.

    August 28, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  13. Don

    I have to wonder why Ralph thinks that GWB, while clearly inept, is a racist. Is it because Ralph is a race-baiting bottom-feeder? Why yes, yes it is!

    At any rate, FEMA actively prevents private entities from assisting anywhere until FEMA has established its own little fiefdom in that area–even if it means people die waiting for assistance. FEMA is an unconstitutional and unconscionable waste of money.

    August 28, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  14. Jman

    People who disagree with Ron Paul on this matter work for FEMA, so I can understand your view point.

    August 28, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. microburst

    elain what have you been smoken? cause i want some of it to. wow isnt that the biggest brain washed garbage i ever read.
    you even say it yourself about wasted spending . stop reading what the media wants you to read and stop with the overdrama.

    August 28, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  16. George

    I'm predicting a Michele Bachmann – Ron Paul ticket for the Republican Party in 2012. Rumor has it they have already had a twirl around the dance floor, if you know what i mean, wink wink.

    August 28, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  17. Gary

    It is away with any program that directly helps the common name it and it is on the chopping block. But God forbid mention anything that might effect a large corporation such as one that receive subsidies or bailouts.

    August 28, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  18. Jim Berns

    Spread the word. If you want to make any situation worse from Apples to Zebras ask the government to fix it!

    FEMA, FDIC, Department of Education, Federal Reserve etc. all make the problems they pretend to fix much worse!

    If you are at a meeting and someone proposes the government should fix something just start booing!

    August 28, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  19. S-Hug

    We don't need the Department of Homeland Security, either. If the CIA had done their job in 2001, the department would not have been established, and we wouldn't be recognizing the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 next month.

    August 28, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  20. PaulC

    There is no doubt that FEMA is a bloated mess and should be thoroughly reorganized and streamlined.
    There is also no doubt that we need it.

    August 28, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  21. S-Hug

    We don't need the Department of Homeland Security, either. If the CIA had done their job in 2001, the department wouldn't have been established, and we wouldn't be recognizing the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 next month. In conclusion, the economy would not have been wrecked, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    August 28, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  22. G Foster

    Ron Paul makes sense of course until you are the one stricken by catastrophe. Hard to imagine a federal government that stands down and watches people suffer and possibly die. At that point we will become less a 3rd-world country.

    August 28, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  23. mb2010a

    When are you Paul supporters and tea baggers going to get it through your collective heads that the states are almost all broke and near bankruptcy. They can't afford to do any of the things that FEMA is providing by themselves. They need the Federal government to step in in times of disaster because they are not prepared for anything. Why is it that every time some kind of natural disaster strikes one of the states (any of them), that their governors immediately ask for disaster relief from the federal government? BTW, Ron Paul is a loose canon tea bagger and totally worthless...Obama 21012.

    August 28, 2011 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  24. Gary

    Oh yeah...the wealthy could I forget

    August 28, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  25. Jack

    Mr. Paul

    Outlandish statements like this make us conservatives look like fools! That why I will no longer have anything to do with pseudo-conservative or liberitians like you.

    You should be more intelligent and had enough experience to not to make such outlandish statements, but apparently your not.

    August 28, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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