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. rrock

    If you live in a hurricane zone do the nation a favor and plan for it and get private insurance so the government does not have to bail you out when you get flooded.

    August 28, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Kirie

    I've been listening to Anderson Cooper's book, and it certainly sounds like FEMA is kind of a waste. It took them days to get to the Katrina victims – bodies were just lying to rot in homes, on streets, etc. I still don't get how reporters can get there before a disaster strikes and are ready to do their job as soon as the event passes, but emergency organizations can't get "organized" for several days.

    August 28, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Jeremiah

    Only Ron Paul will deliver us from overweaning deficits. Even liberals understand this.

    August 28, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. JR

    Every time I hear Paul open his mouth I become more convinced that Libertarians are insane.

    August 28, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Michael

    Does Ron Paul not realize that FEMA is heavily involved in the preparation for disasters? Does he plan to cut loose NOAA so we don't have effective models to tell where to expect weather related disasters next?

    August 28, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. nyc

    Do some REsearch on FEMA concentration camps. FEMA camps in the usa. FEMA is a Danger to american freedom in time of emergency.

    August 28, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Hester

    Why do I keep seeing ,"He is right look what happened with Katrina" there was a guy in the whitehouse at that time that put an idiot in charge of FEMA. Lets not compare.Bottom line is the rich filks don't need FEMA,Healthcare etc.

    August 28, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. JW

    This article slightly distorts his logic – I'm no fan of Fox News, but go to their site or YouTube and watch the entire interview. Things make more sense in the context of reducing government spending as a whole.

    August 28, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. jeff

    FEMA is a WASTE of money!!! FEMA is one of many reasons OBAMA has us this deep in debt. in 2012 we will get rid of government waste starting with obama

    August 28, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Frankfurter

    How on earth did folks manage to live without FEMA? What about the EEOC? The FBI and the CIA? The CBO, the CCDO and the CDC? The DEQ, DOE, DOJ and DOL? The EPA, ETA, FAA, FDIC and FHEO? The FOMC, FTSB, GIS, GPO and HUD? We've got thousands of agencies, but heaven knows we need thousands more!

    August 28, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Robert

    The federal government needs to be cut down in size. It is too big for it's britches.

    August 28, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Chris

    I'm reading in these comments that "this is america and we take care of each other". Alright absolutely. We can do that with volunteers and charity. Not bureaucracies and deficit spending. FEMA hinders volunteers from helping and competes with private charities.

    August 28, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Chris

    Ron Paul 2012

    August 28, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Yeah Right

    We dont need Ron paul either

    August 28, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Mr. Paul doesn't want FEMA when the GOP is in charge because if got elected POTUS he'd have to find a former horse show president to run it and he doesn't know any. Give "W" a call, Ron, he knows one...... But, really, Ron doesn't want it because it would be helping more common folk than he'd care to think about. Keep working that consumption tax idea, Ron, it's a beauty – now people who don't pay any federal tax still wouldn't but they'd pay 23% sales tax on everyting as opposed to the limited 8.125% here in San Antonio that they pay now. That's smart economics, Ron!

    August 28, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Louis

    There are STILL people living in FEMA trailers in Florida!

    August 28, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. ken

    I helped clean out homes in Ocean Breeze where Katrina Hit.....The only real help I saw came from Churches, Individuals, Local Govt., The Southern Co(all the power affliiates), and The Phone Company, and minor Nat Guard presence. People helped thier neighbors. Didn't see much need for FEMA...the work is nasty, mold and stench. Some people were stressed beyond their limits. I would have liked to have seen alot more insurance adjusters helping people on the ground.

    August 28, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. JD

    Who needs government at all? Why should we have an organization that pools together the resources of 300 million when we could leave it up to local and state governments, with far lessened resources? Maybe this will finally weed out some of those disgusting poor people.

    I don't want my tax dollars going to anyone else. But you had better believe that if a disaster hits my home, I want others' tax dollars going toward helping me. Maybe that's the solution. My tax dollars only go toward directly helping me, and everyone else's tax dollars also go toward helping me.

    It should be that way for everyone, right? That would work.

    August 28, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. annie s

    I'm not sure we need Ron Paul.

    August 28, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Teri

    Perfect timing for those who want to decentralize. It means you are all on your own – a repeat of Katrina during the Bush Administration might help him get the sand from the gulf shores out of his brain. Funny, they did not refuse EMA Dollars during Rita or Katrina. But Bush's FEMA was a joke- at least there is planning now helping Joplin get back to normal. tTme to join Rick Perry on the Stern of the Titanic. Time to get back to teh UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

    August 28, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Dan in FL

    Let's get to the underlying truth of the matter. Conservative/Libertarian/Tea Party strategy appears to be 1) defund or put incompetent people in charge of government programs they dislike, 2) blame the programs themselves when they fail to work as designed, 3) propose getting rid of the program because it does not work. Sadly, millions of people fall for this illogic over and over again as demonstrated by earlier posts.

    August 28, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. jonny

    Actually, We Don't Need Ron Paul.

    August 28, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. jonny

    FEMA FAILED under Bush's cronies Yet was a huge success under Clinton AND Obama.

    Enough Said.

    August 28, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. chgoguy01

    i never thought Ron Paul was a complete idiot, like i think Bachmann, Perry, Romney and the rest of the Repukes are.
    Now, i think that Ron Paul is a complete idiot.

    August 28, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Ken Best

    I think Paul is right. Just look at the talking heads around the FEMA table, with big screen TVs and such. We are paying for those guys, 100K-200K each, what can they do ? Nothing. We already have the Red Cross.

    August 28, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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