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. keef

    It's just another giant bloated inaffectual bueracracy. Of course he's right.

    August 27, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Times Are Changing..

    @deanzna ~ Thank you for his link. Of the GreedyOP's, I was overall impressed & he's come closest to try Rep. That said, I can/will not support one that wants to do away with EPA (Global Warming IS Real, folks & we don't need more coal burning/emmissions) nor eliminating the FDA overseeing nutraceuticals. Granted, I prefer supplements over pharmaceuticals, but I want protected with safety, quality & all. Oh, also disagree with him on homeschooling credit (majority don't have that option). As a NATION, we need to pay our teachers way more, get qualified ones, & lower student/teacher ratios. Close, but no cigar.

    August 27, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. JJ

    Ron, you're an idiot. Nobody gives a flying intercourse what Texas thinks it can or can't do. Those nimrods have been saying they want secession and we all know what BS that is. You going to mandate what help the rest of the country can get in a disaster on the basis of what a state that produced a moron like Dubya thinks it can do?

    August 27, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Brian

    Ron Paul is against FORCING one person to pay for another person's tragedy. Why is that so hard to understand? If you want to help out, go ahead and do so, but do NOT force me to help, if I don't want to. People in oregon should not have to pay for people in Florida when hurricanes hit. Unless they do it voluntarily. Unless, of course, you like a totalitarian form of government.

    August 27, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  5. Errm

    "FEMA is a waste of money besides not being constitutional. "

    Oh, really? Do tell!
    I love how everything is "against" the Constitution these days, but yet somehow you think it's also ok to do away with parts of it with which you disagree.
    God, the Tea party is lame.
    And Ron Paul is a nutjob.

    August 27, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. lenn9o9n

    I love that his position on this comes up during a hurricane making its way up the east coast. More feckless journalism. Look up FEMA's debt issue and then come back to me. If you don't believe this country/states can assist each other w/out another federal program then I feel sorry for you. Ron Paul 2012. Wake up to the near 14 dollars of debt and ask why? The many answers might lead you somewhere.

    August 27, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. JW

    What if the locals don't have the expertise to handle an emergency? One advantage FEMA seems to have is expertise in dealing with emergencies, as well as the ability to mobilize large amounts of equipment and supplies to specific areas of the U.S. in an event of an emergency and in a timely manner–or at least in theory they do . . . not sure how good they are at it yet. But maybe FEMA could be just a smaller advisory and coordinating board, versus actually doing much of the work?

    August 27, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. minesweeper

    people like Ron Paul are just plain cheap . . . he doesn't have to worry about natural disasters because he lives in an ivory tower

    August 27, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Jan

    Lots of fruitcakes in the U.S. these days. There's Glen Beck who says Hurricane Irene is a blessing, there's the Koran-burning pastor who's going to attend NYC 9/22, the man who says the Washington Monument cracked because of gay marriages, and now Ron Paul who says FEMA shouldn't exist. Not only is the media giving time and space to these numnuts, people take them seriously.
    As for the slow response to Katrina, the governor and the New Orleans mayor didn't ask for help in a timely manner, nor did the mayor order evacuation until it was way too late.

    August 27, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. Armando sad to see so many people against Dr. Paul. It is the people that still believe in big out of control Federal programs like FEMA that are to blame for the financial crisis that we are in today. I guess they forgot about Katrina and the poor response and waist of billions of tax payer dollars in trailers and bad investments that did not help anyone. He wants to give the States the power to help not the Federal Government. Please get educated before you criticize Dr. Paul. Google him or youtube Ron Paul...get informed.

    August 27, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. Kamarasune

    FEMA turned away truck after truck of bottled water and supplies trying to get in to help the victims of Katrina Paul is spot on!

    August 27, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Brock

    I love how CNN decides to use this hurricane as a reason to put doubts in peoples minds aboug Ron Paul. He says to get rid of the beurocratic monstrosity known as FEMA HE DOESNT SAY that there wouldn't be a state level program to help in such times.

    ******* stop lying about Ron Paul CNN!!!!

    August 27, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. A Real Patriot

    What a flippin' idiot.

    I suppose when earthquakes and tornadoes hit we're just supposed to find shelter, food, and water by ourselves huh? And there are Americans who take this guy seriously? My God-and they get to vote too?

    Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton are rolling over in their graves....

    August 27, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. simpletruth

    Another overrun misguided Federal Government program is simply not needed in order to save us.
    Wake up America & look beyond this rhetoric.
    Ignorance is a poor excuse for reporting fact.
    Truth & knowledge is empowering.

    August 27, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. jimboe

    I agree, it's your state, deal with it. and if it costs you too much to live there, you shouldn't live there.

    August 27, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Scott A

    Ron Paul also wants to bring back slavery (since to him it's a government controlled program). Congrats CNN for trying to give this loony and the other loonies on the right credibility.

    August 27, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Martin Luther King

    Dr Paul is right. If I had all my income taxes, insurance premiums and everything else the government takes from me, I'd have my house paid off, loans paid off and alot left over to donate to others. He's right, the high level government people are getting rich just like the insurance companies and the little guy gets screwed thinking that we need them and they are going to save us. Right on Ron Paul, he knows what's going on.

    August 27, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. Pravaa

    Actually we don't need the GOP. We live in the real world where delusions and nutjobs have no place.We will be just fine without the GOP. More and more people are realizing that now.

    August 27, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. bill

    Ralph said:
    I have to admit that FEMA's response to Katrina was very poor. BUT I have to wonder how FEMA's effectiveness was influenced by the GW Bush presidency? Specifically, that GWB possibly didn't care much for the citizens of Louisiana, because so many of them were Black.
    If you actually believe that, you need professional help.

    August 27, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Walt

    Amazing to see so many sheep who are so engrained with the belief that a huge federal government is the best way to take care of people. Instead of mocking Paul because of your own ignorance, try thinking for yourself.

    August 27, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. registered voter

    Those Texans are all heart. Just dripping with the milk of human kindness for their fellow man( rich people like themselves). Those Teaxans ( all for the rich people nothing for the poor) lol

    August 27, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Pat

    What a laugh about ending FEMA. Jan Brewer is the biggest hypocrite stating to get the Federal government off you back and was the first one crying to the government for help when Arizona was engulfed with those wild fires. Haven't heard much from that hag and all her hype.

    August 27, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. Mcbain05

    Sounds like a rich man's response. The function of FEMA is necessary, but it is rife with inefficiency and corruption. Disbanding it is not really necessary. An overhaul... hell yes!

    August 27, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Frank

    I live in Florida and 100% agree with him. Out local officials are far more reliable and useful then FEMA. I guess if your local and state government is incompetent like in LA, then FEMA probably is a necessity. FEMA is good for handing out ice and giving you $1000 no questions asked on the spot though.

    August 27, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    And the Titanic didn't need life boats ?
    Just when you think this guy has a clue , he goes weird !
    exactly....wait....hold on...the Titanic met or exceed all safety requirements of the government, including the number of life boats.

    August 27, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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