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. Howard

    Coo Cooo! Cooo Cooo!

    August 27, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. jacola

    Ron Paul is right. The problem is that we Americans have become too dependent on the Government and less dependent on ourselves and our families and communities, and it is get more and more that way on our road to oblivion..

    August 27, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. Debbie

    This is why I can't vote for Ron Paul. He's good on one thing but not on anything else. I like a lot of his ideas on fair tax but there is so much more to being President his other ideas are just wacky! I think FEMA of Katrina is much different than FEMA of today. If Ron Paul is looking for funding FEMA I say cut any aid to Pakistan. In fact, to our Congress please work on: building, buying, hiring, and funding America vs your re-election campaigns and one party ideals.

    August 27, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. The Prince of Common Cents

    Like my Grandma always says about having insurance: "It's better to have it and not need it-than to need it and not have it!"

    If it's okay with you, Mr. Paul: I think I'll continue to let my tax dollars fund FEMA.

    By the way: I think both you AND you're son are as crazy and useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle....

    August 27, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. pickels

    The more i listen to this guy, the more sense he makes.

    August 27, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Glenn

    I agree with Ron Paul – It's not the federal governments job to be take care of us. Give some of that money back to The People so we can take care of ourselves!

    August 27, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. louisiana maritime lawyers

    you want to know who got in the way and prevented that help? FEMA did. Individuals are much better at helping out other people than inefficient government agencies.

    August 27, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Ryan

    I think CNN is misrepresenting is position here. He's not against people organizing nation wide to be prepared for a natural disaster, what he's saying is that the federal government doesn't do a good job of it. One of his main argument is people build houses where they can't get insurance, and yet FEMA will bail these people out. If you can't buy insurance you build or buy at your own risk.

    August 27, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. polkovnik

    In the aftermath of Katrina, was Ron Paul on vacation on Mars? I would have thought everyone would remember what happened with a weakened, enfeebled, and poorly led FEMA. Before FEMA was emasculated, it was very effective.

    August 27, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Christalee

    Put an end to Ron Paul. Fema has done a lot to help us here after the May floods. We lost everything in the basement and our two porches were destroyed. The water level was two and a half inches from entering the main floor. Without Fema's help we would not have been able to recover from the flood. We had peace of mind knowing that we had help. Ron Paul is a dud!!

    August 27, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. WatchDawg

    I guess with cuts to FEMA and the army, Pauls soultions for domestic emergencies is?

    August 27, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. George

    It is apparent from reading this comment thread that most Americans are uneducated as to the role of government in our everyday lives. If Ron Paul does not want like the federal government why is he a US congressman? You cannot be against government and part of the government. Why do Americans allow such rhetoric? The erosion of our public education system is cleally leading middle class and poor Americans into the abyss. Republicans such as Ron Paul are against the very programs that the vast majority of his constituents benefit from and yet they support his words and actions to dismantle these programs in lock step. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    Don't worry America the taxbreaks for Walmart and Exxon will help build your bridges, pay your police and educate your children.

    August 27, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Norman

    Okay people, first of all, FEMA is not a response agency, they are a recovery agency. During Katrina FEMA did not "respond" because of this little thing called the Constitution. It gives States sovereignty. The federal government cannot "respond" to any incident without being invited by state or the local authorities. The idiots in LA and New Orleans did not invite FEMA until three days after the incident. I have worked with FEMA during disasters and they do not "take over," they become a part of the response/recovery efforts. I am an Emergency Management professional and have seen what FEMA provides for the locals in the form of public assistance (to the local authorities) and individual assistance (to the general public). If not for FEMA's efforts, many local disasters would not receive the necessary funding to recover from them. By they way, the locality I work for has both received and been denied "FEMA money."

    August 27, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. thomas

    Bush, who had appointed Brown in 2003, praised Brown shortly after the storm hit, saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job,"

    Walmart doesn't helicopters , large generators , nor water purification.
    Just because an Idiot mismanaged FEMA , doesn't mean it's not needed.

    August 27, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Jack in Florida

    One word........................Whacko.

    August 27, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. Indy

    "We dont need FEMA"
    "Shut EPA's doors"
    "$2.00 gasoline"
    "Corporations are people"
    "Not lifting the debt ceiling wont' hurt a thing"

    You may be an unelectable idiot if you said any of the above statements
    Real Classy time to bash FEMA !!

    August 27, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Eye of the Storm

    Few people complained about FEMA in the 1990s when Clinton was in office. Clinton staffed FEMA with people who actually had experience in Emergency Management instead of the unqualified political appointees of the Bush era. Let's see how FEMA handles Irene, then decide.

    August 27, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Jack

    The truth is,Paul loads a Democratic bill up, full of relief for His district, knowing the bills will pass. Then he votes against a sure thing, so he can look like he"s not a spender.Remember, If you can tell little lies,you can tell big lies.

    August 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. hlcteacher

    what an idoit...typical not an american where we help one another in an organized manner

    August 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. Byrd

    So Marcus, those who are afflicted by catastrophe become instantly parasitic overnight, is that right? Typical fundamentalist Christian perception of everyone but themselves.

    August 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. zip

    Comedy gold. When the big disaster hits, just sit there and pay for it out of your pocket. The front loaders and levee repair should be cheap for people of your intelligence. My God, how much mindless filth do we have in this country???

    August 27, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. D Smock

    Someone on here said most Americans don't think we need FEMA. Most Americans are only of average intelligence and don't make good decisions too. Oh lord. It's gonna be President Ron Paul.:(

    August 27, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. Mark

    I never could figure out why the taxpayers should have to pay to help rebuild or repair people's property after a disaster. Isn't that what insurance is for?

    That said, the federal government does need an organization capable of responding to disasters on a national scope. FEMA just needs to stop throwing so much money around when disasters strike.

    August 27, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. Mark

    Seems rather mean spirited for him to address this right in the midst of a hurricane; you do NOT need to be a Dem to have at least some courtesy let alone compassion – both of which appear absent. I'm definitely a swing voter, I liked Bush Sr, not Bush Jr, I liked Hillary but not Obama; and so far I see NO ONE on the GOP side that I remotely like.

    August 27, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Jay Reese

    As long as he ends the "war on drugs", I don't care what he does. Seriously though, he is obviously the most honest and consistent Politician we have running for president. I normally vote third party, but I would be willing to give him 8 years. What do we have to lose after Bush's 8 yrs of rape and pillage,

    August 27, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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