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. DS

    Even ants have their system in place and parts of their system to protect the colony. We are only doing what nature does. Mr. Paul that's just nonsense...

    August 28, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. TM

    Spoken like someone who has NEVER been in the path of hurricane, who has never seen his home, and those of most of his neighbors leveled. If you've never suffered trauma, you probably don't see the need for hospitals either. It's no surprise that the Grandfather of the Teabag movement doesn't understand this. They just don't comprehend that there are some disasters that are too big for one person, or one community to handle.

    August 28, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Tom Swick

    I'm 28 years old so I am only giving my opinion from my life experience.....

    August 28, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. save the middle class

    Those rich Texas Republicans like Paul are just dripping with the milk of human kindness for their fellow
    man(the rich). Paul and his wealthy constituents don't need FEMA.

    Paul get rid of FEMA and give the money to the rich so they can create more minimum wage jobs. LOL

    August 28, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. LinuxPerson

    "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."

    When are you Bush / Obama supporter clones going to get it through your collective brain dead heads that the Federal government is far more broke than most state governments? Oh that's right, the Federal government can just steal even more money by PRINTING it, that should fix everything!

    We'll just print more money so a bunch of a paper pushers can do administrative work, nevermind the economic collapse that will result in the downfall of the entire country... we have a few hurricanes that FEMA needs to act like their helping with!

    You people are scum are a great example of why voting booths should do IQ screenings.

    August 28, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Richard Ryder

    Ron Paul is a sad OLD MAN who realizes he has no chance to be he says stupid things like this. He is just an addled Senior Citizen who should be more worried about changing his Depends on time then picking on an agency that is the lifeline to many people. George Bush and Brownie screwed up FEMA..don't throw the baby out with the bath water...this man shows that we need age limits for people to run for president...he is just an old old man...go away..

    August 28, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Carl The Rover

    Ron who? What's he do? Never heard of him.

    August 28, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Jason H

    Ron Paul is a moron and the people who follow him are morons. The republican answer to everything is "less government." How about we get rid of the Veteran Affairs department? They are one of the largest cash cows in D.C. and ineffectual at best.

    August 28, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. ArtInChicago

    Somethings are larger than the resources of a given area. FEMA is needed. I would have loved to see Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida coordinate and respond to Hurricane Katrina. What was needed was disaster contingency professionals at FEMA which is what we have now. These libertarians and Tea Party folks better quit with this eliminating government thing. We want better government, not NO government.

    August 28, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. James F T

    Mr. Paul is just another demagogue on one end of the political spectrum. Demagogues on the right and the left are simply out of touch with understanding what living in a modern society requires. Hyperindividualism is as ridiculous as hypercollectivism. Let's stop talking about big or small government and talk about good governance instead. As for Irene I think FEMA as reorganized now shows signs, however narrowly modest, of better governance for the public good. There are a lot of things we don't need to survive Mr. Paul, but surviving is not quite as good as living. Perhaps we also do away with the911 system. It does not always work well so it must be useless and just some other form of government meddling in our lives.???? Rolling my eyes...

    August 28, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Ronald

    I think the word "TOAST" applies here.

    August 28, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Pete

    It's painful to read some of these comments. How many of you that are sticking up for FEMA have actually been "helped" by them? How many of you know someone who is from New Orleans and was affected by Katrina? Most of you just pile this biased media crap into your mouths willingly. When will people start thinking for themselves?
    Ron Paul 2012

    August 28, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Joshua Ludd

    While FEMA definitely needs some serious changes to its management structure.. and as for Katrina, lets not forget that Heckuva Job Brownie didn't actually have any experience in disaster management (thanks, Bushy. Great pick).. the idea of getting rid of it entirely is ludicrous. We have a federal agency that does these things because disasters can easily wipe out huge swaths of state infrastructure for dealing with disasters.

    August 28, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. Alina77

    Soon, the meddle class will be at fault for having skin too, these GOP guys are going skin us a life (when they will find out about it).

    August 28, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  15. Saboth

    Here's the deal Repubs: you put Ron Paul against Obama, and I'll go with Ron Paul. Not that I hate Obama (I voted for him), but I simply like Ron Paul more. You put *anyone* of these Bush Jr. wannabes up against Obama, I go with Obama. Pretty simple.

    As for FEMA: doesn't it get pretty old we keep bailing out these people every year? "Oh no...Florida needs help, a hurricane!" It isn't like these floods and storms are freak occurrences. They happen yearly because people live in volatile areas of their own choosing, and expect help every 1-2 years.

    August 28, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. Tom Swick

    Ron Paul isn't just your average Republican either... I don't like either party, but in reality you have to be a part of one of these parties to ever become president... The Republican values are just more complementary of Ron Paul's values. Not all Republicans follow their parties values, but what is written isn't so bad of values to have... I personally am not a fan of either party, because I think they are both flawed and corrupt. I just happen to think Ron Paul could be that one guy out of the whole field that can save the economy and the country from it's current crisis... He is so intelligent that a person like me who isn't highly intelligent can understand what he says is the truth.... Please for all the people who doubt his competency just research what he says and compare it to different sources and I will assure you it will all make sense...

    August 28, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Steve

    From reading the comments on this site, maybe you all are right. Maybe Americans are too stupid to live without the Government controlling every aspect of their lives. If any of you who are bashing Paul,s ideas had half a brain cell, it's not so much that he wants to do away with some agencies, as much as it is how wasteful, and inefficient they are. He would prefer that the states keep the money from these agencies, and spend it more efficiently. What is good for New England is not necessarily good for California.

    August 28, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Charlie in Maine

    The GOP running FEMA (or any branch of government in general) is like having a a rabid wolf as your baby sittier. When you children are ripped apart an devoured you could say it is you fault for leaving your kids with a rabid wolf, but it is easier to blame the idea of a babysitter.

    August 28, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. CCC

    Forget FEMA for a minute...think what the costs of rebuilding from hurricanes do the *entire country*. Insurance companies raise their rates to tens of millions of UNAFFECTED customers to make up for their losses from those "danger areas". IMO, if you choose to live in Florida, or a danger area, then you should have to be wealthy enough to self-insure. I'm tired of paying again and again for people that live in flood plains, hurricane areas, tornado alley, etc. I honestly think Ron Paul is onto something here.

    August 28, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Tewrobert

    Without a doubt we do NOT need Ron Paul.
    But Fema could use some makeover......
    Our whole government could use some work.
    They are sitting there trying to figure out how much that can suck out of us when in fact they should be seeing how much they can cut back on spending money we dont have......
    I was in Katrina and there was a bunch of waste and mismanagement...

    August 28, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. mejazzbo

    Amazing how the media always partially quotes Ron Paul to make him sound like a clown. The media actually sounds like a clown to most people. Bought and paid for, no doubt.

    August 28, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Ron A

    Are you people stupid? You need FEMA? You need government to care for you?

    Dr. Paul us saying 2 things here.
    1. FEMA is Unconstitutional. Which he is right, it is not an enumerated power of government to provide disaster relief.
    2. People should get help after a disaster but it should come from the States or Local Government. From private charities, churches and individuals. Why? Because the more local the support, the more effective e and efficient the help.

    Seriously, before you have some god awful emotional response, think a little bit. There are alot of problems with FEMA. Look at the response during Katrina an other disasters.

    Also consider that for 150 years there were disasters in this country and no FEMA. How did those people survive? How did they rebuild their homes etc? Think just a little bit, and you will find the answers.

    August 28, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Discernment

    – – – – – – – –
    (1.) – Galveston was a gorgeous and prominent southwest city just before the September-1900 hurricane, but after 111-years the city has never recovered to resume its prior status.

    (2.) – FEMA in the times of disaster, is like a lifeboat on a sinking ship. If there are enough lifeboats, then people are saved. But if there are little to no lifeboats as in the case of the Titanic, then the disaster is magnified and people don't live to rebuild.

    (3.) – Yes, FEMA had a black eye from Katrina. But don't blame FEMA. Blame Republican President George W. Bush for hiring unqualified cronies like Michael Brown to lead the agency.

    August 28, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. jake80

    For a guy that begs for money I guess his statement is expected He wasts money all the tiome running for a post he can NEVER WIN!! Go home Paul and stay there!

    August 28, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Rod Ramjet

    FEMA has as much to do with "keeping us safe" as the TSA. It's all about command and control, people. If you don't get that by now, you probaly never will ... until it's too late.

    August 28, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42