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. Jeffer65

    He might have a point. If FEMA gets in the way and over steps its authority, the it needs to go or be completely overhauled.
    Dept of Homeland Security and TSA need to be examined as well.

    August 27, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. urshadow

    Dr. Paul is right. People who live in high-risk areas should be paying the extra insurance for when disasters hit – we certainly pay more here in SoCal because of earthquakes, so why should I have to pay taxes in order support a part of the country I don't even live in???

    August 27, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Remember the 1000's of FEMA trailer that are sitting and rotting somewhere? FEMA is the best example of the ineptitude of the Federal Gov't and should be abolished.

    August 27, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. maybe

    While I lean toward the liberal side of politics, I agree that FEMA has not proved itself as a very efficint and effective organization.

    August 27, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. ATL Guy

    2012 can't come fast enough for us to get rid of these clownish republicans. I am so sick of those fools and their idiotic tea baggers.

    August 27, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. anon

    I heard FEMA is setting up camps to detain American citizens and threaten them as enemies of the state if they do not follow orders of the government once it takes control of everything and locks down the country. nothing like a good ol' disaster, handled very poorly to relocate citizens. Rumor? Conspiracy? Fact? You tell me

    August 27, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Laurie

    I would rather see FEMA & Fed Government respond and assist in a disaster. The key is to have a well functioning FEMA which it seems we now have. I do not think that disaster relief should be a donation/volunteer job and rely on bake sales.

    August 27, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Freddy

    I hope the Democrats repeat this quote, loud and often. The GOP de-funded FEMA and Bush placed a horse broker as FEMA head ("Brownie is doing a heck of a job!). Had FEMA been properly managed and funded during Katrina, the outcome would have been vastly different. But Ron Paul would rather give more tax cuts to millionaires, and let the poor folks rot in some stadium. Democrats: are you listening????

    August 27, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Name king

    As much as these well off folks tries to connect with local folks, they just keep switching back to their usual selves. He probably never been unfortunate in his whole entire life and just cannot connect with us regular folks.

    August 27, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. hank

    It is amazing how insensitive this man is to human suffering and he is an M.D. As a rich physician, he simply heads North for a storm and has plenty of money to rebuild. One of the biggest problems with storms it puts large numbers of people out of work, destroys tax base of local communities and without FEMA recovery would be slow and painful.

    August 27, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. bruce

    What an idiot. Have you no decency, sir. If a rich man dosen't need, then nobody needs it.

    August 27, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Makes a lot of sense

    He says FEMA hinders emergency efforts. That the money going to run FEMA could go to states allowing them to spend on resources to help as they know the land, local laws, and people better than a federal agency.

    August 27, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. vjhxxx

    The sad thing abut this commentary is that some people elected this BUFFOON to congress.

    August 27, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. David

    I agree with the guy who noted that past FEMA problems were when Bush was in the White House. The agency is crucial in its mission. It requires effective leadership, not elimination. We'll get to see THIS WEEK if FEMA is now better run, thanks to IRENE. If FEMA steps up and helps states all along the Eastern seaboard recover, Mr. Paul will be seen as a bit of a buffoon.

    August 27, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. VistaPoint

    Just imagine the state of affairs if this man is at the helm. I do not know much of him; I assume he is probably a self made man, very self-reliant and thinks that there is no role for government in his life. He does not seem to like any federal agency and wants to get rid of them, be it FEMA, IRS, the Federal Reserve, basically any governmental agency. Yet, he is very interested in public office. If he ever becomes a President... and if he continues to follow his current principles then... we may not see and hear much from this man. We can forget getting any any help from the government in case of disaster. He will probably say...go build your roads if you want to drive. We may even forget that we have a President.

    August 27, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. x15pilot

    Ron Paul is exactly right - we've been at the tit of the government so long now, that we're beyond the mentality of entitlement. You can see it by the posts here - there are people who don't have the first clue how to fend for themselves or deal with emergencies - the first thing they think of is a government program. The local, state, and federal governments were clueless fir Katrina in Louisiana - the mayor could not make decision to use school buses to get people out of NO, the governor waffled for 3 days in telling Bush that she wanted federal help, and FEMA was highly disorganized and slow when it was called in. We have built tremendous wealth over this last generation, but we are totally inept when it comes to emergency thinking, and seem to be selfish in that we believe in our troubles the rest of us and the government should bail us out.

    August 27, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Jaywing

    My guess is Mr. Paul, you bail like a scared pig everytime there's any kind of weather threat to Texas, because after all you're a rich bastard with a lot of resources who can run from problems, unlike most of us. To make a statement that a government agency is poorly run, when it was poorly run when under Bush, 'Brownie' & your ilk's guidelines, doesn't mean it isn't an effective agency now under Obama. And for those of you sheep who swallow what poisonious drivel a politician says without doing any research on your own to see if s/he is lying or pulling 'facts' out of their butts, you deserve stupid representatives to represent your stupid, ignorant selves. Please vote Republican - vote Stupid!

    August 27, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Phil

    Ron Paul is missing the mark. It's not FEMA, it's Homeland Security that needs to go.

    August 27, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. 66Biker

    You know what I call a "great contributor to deficit financing"? Paying idiots like this guy to be in Congress. And he wants to be President? No way! I thank God almighty that he doesn't stand a chance of being elected.

    August 27, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. teacheng

    Mr. Paul's district in Galveston received plenty of federal assistance after being hit with a hurricane.

    Can we have that money back now please?

    August 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. keith

    I have no problem with what Ron Paul says. But when a hurricane blows your house away, or an earthquake levels your neighborhood, I don't want to see Ron Paul or any one of his libertarian/Tea Party supporters yelling, "Where's the Federal government in all this? Why aren't they helping?"

    August 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. Blaine

    People who advocate for FEMA are well intentioned, but the reality is that this agency is too big and cumbersome to be effective. Don't give into the knee jerk reactions the politicos bait you with, consider the point rationally. Is a state FEMA a better idea? Who could deliver resources better than the neighboring states and strategies? The best and most effective governance has always been local. FEMA got in the way of law enforcement during katrina, and even hindered their efforts by cutting their communications, literally.

    August 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Jonathan

    I am a Floridian of 30 years and have been ravaged by hurricanes many times and NEVER ONCE saw/heard from FEMA. They are an absolute waste of taxpayers' money.

    August 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Rick

    FEMA is WORTHLESS. They didnt do nothing for me and my family during Katrina... My church memebers were told by FEMA that they couldnt enter my own neighborhood to help!! This agency is a waste of tax payer dollars..

    August 27, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. Kennk

    the nation would be much better off without ... Ron Paul.

    August 27, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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