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. BetterDeadThanFed

    The more I hear of Ron Paul, the more I like him. People who live near the coast(s) should know the consequences. Why do people who live in the Midwest, for example, need to pay for them to live near the coast(s)? Get insurance. If you can't get insurance and can't afford to fix your house.. MOVE!

    The government is BROKE! And the rest of us are broke and/or tired of paying.

    August 27, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. carly

    What a moron. I bet he would be first in line if he needed government services. It is always the Republicans crying about government and still accepting everything they can get their hands on.

    August 27, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Jamie

    More like the US doesn't need Ron Paul. He and his Tea Bagger friends believe government per se is evil. As another poster said, 'Well then move to Somalia and see how you like such a set-up.'

    August 27, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Skipper

    Good ol' Ron Paul...... Makes Ross Perot seem sane.

    August 27, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Jamison

    I agree we do not need FEMA, the government can just as easily take a back seat to these disasters, thats the reason the governor can call out the National Guard if he has to, to help with disaster relief. If there is an agency to handle disasters it should be at the state level.

    August 27, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Bill

    Interesting perspective. I think that this deserves some thought. Fact: FEMA is only for those who did not insure their property. I know because I just had a tornado hit my house in a Federal Disaster declared area and looked into it. If you are insured, then FEMA has nothing to offer you. FEMA is only for those who are not insured, and who chose to not purchase insurance. Truthfully, for those of us who are responsible and purchase insurance, I would have to say that YES, FEMA is a waste of money and government resources. However, for the indigent and those caught off guard by a disaster, I think that it is still worth having. If you go to the FEMA website, they state very clearly that FEMA is not there to render your property to pre-disaster condition but to get it livable. Interesting.

    August 27, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. johnbiggscr

    FEMA, and other agencies are not just created on a whim. They come out of a response to how events were handled in the past and the idea that what happened then were not successful and something else needed to be created. Paul, and others need to get out of this 'our state' mentality. Remember the people fled Katrina from one state to others and so the idea that a central agency monitoring that is worse than the individual states trying to keep track is ludicrous.

    August 27, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Tami

    Seriously people, Ron Paul is simply saying it should not be a federal program but state and local governments should coordinate the emergency management efforts, not that all American's should fend for themselves in a disaster.

    August 27, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Chris

    Thank You Ron Paul

    I believe that those who live in danger prone areas take their own risk, buy their own insurance, and the local governments are responsible for making sure people don't live where they shouldn't. FEMA allows for lazy people to build houses they shouldn't in places they shouldnt.

    August 27, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Larry L

    I wonder what Ron Paul would do if his home of Lake Jackson was hit by a category V hurricane and everything he knew was blown away? Would Texas, deeply in debt due to another Republican's mishandling of the economy, be able to rise up and provide the help? I wish you folks who hate government would spend a part of your lives in places without any real government support – like Somalia or Haiti. Have you seen children starving to death or families wandering in search of even garbage to eat or a piece of plastic to shelter them? Keep voting for the Tea Bag radicals or anarchists like Ron Paul and you might get that opportunity! The man is nuttier than squirrel droppings – just like the rest of the Republican Circus.

    August 27, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. zooni

    The money tree is empty. FEMA has been of ZERO usefulness, wasting money on trailers NOT responding on time to Katrina. Ron Paul is a wise man and all the other candidates are running smear / ignore campaign's against him so they can implement the status quo. Spend and sink.

    August 27, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Kevin C

    One more piece of ineffective government that gets paid without delivering improvements and strong results. This is yet another component of federal government that should be privatized. And stuff like this makes people think Dr. Paul is a nut case. We did as well as possible without FEMA. Why do we need it now?

    And from a different angle, I'm sure the folks championing the cause of eliminating "entitlement" programs sure want to keep FEMA around. At least I paid into SS. I should get something back.

    August 27, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Dick

    Abolishing FEMA is the easy way out. Making it work is more difficult and requires real THINKING.

    August 27, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Steve

    The state should be responsible, why FeEMA? The US house could appropraite money for humanitarian reasons.

    Now, It's a money transfer from US ciitzens to any area.. just like the Federal flood insurance program.

    People biild houses in floodzones, then are paid when they get flooded .. And a lot of corruption of that exists in West Central Florida

    August 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. skeptical

    We don't need Ron Paul. Create more unemployment why don't you and include yourself Ron Paul.

    August 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. d.cote2

    Simple Philosophy, Stop being lazy, Stop thinking like you need a babysitter. Insurance Corp's and big Government programs are not for the everyday people, Their for Profit, Government and the big corporations mostly, Except the Politicians who save face by throwing a few trailers and some food stamps @ the victims at taxpayers expense. Big Government makes it difficult to succeed in this country. Small Government who follows the Constitution allows a level playing field for those who choose hard work over welfare. Move out of momma's house and grow. Your to caught up in the system to see the forest through the trees.

    August 27, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  17. Blah

    And this is why he'll never win the presidency. He's still living in 1900 Galveston, apparently.

    August 27, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. ric

    The Republifool comedy show is in full swing I see!

    August 27, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Governnt at work

    Kudos to FEMA for planning and implementing an effective emergency plan.

    August 27, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. _me

    Just wanna emphasize the point in the third-last paragraph about Paul voting against pork for his own district. Kudos to Ron Paul for being one of the few politicians nowadays who are not hypocrites! You have to respect this guy even if you think he's wrong on every point.

    August 27, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. JW

    Ron Paul isn't saying that he doesn't believe in disaster aid, he's simply saying that he doesn't believe it should be FEMA. He supports charities and other organizations/corporations coming together to help people - just not a government regulated organization that is already more inflated than it should be.

    August 27, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. Bob

    "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."

    That is a bald-faced, stupid, demonstrable lie! Galveston received millions of dollars in aid from the federal government after that disaster. FEMA wasn't around back then, so it wasn't from that particular agency, but federal funds were used to help rebuild that city. To say there was no federal aid at all and Texas did all the rebuilding all by itself is such a horrendous lie it is beyond comprehension. Read you history Ron Paul, you are absolutely wrong on this.

    August 27, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. regertz

    Ron Paul's attitude is simply an ignorant excuse for laziness and indifference...We need a coordinated response to these emergencies and he is simply a foolish man who has little understanding of such issues. No human institution is perfect, particularly if staffed by corrupt incompetents like Brownie and co under Bush but FEMA has done a great job in most cases and brings organization and resources that can't be matched at the local level.

    August 27, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. bigbiz2

    I know one thing for sure FEMA is waaaaay too big and too inefective. They spend money that is not an providing free fans and window ac units when its too hot..then the welfare recipients turn around and sell them>not a FEMA job

    August 27, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. billy

    I agree with Ron completely as in 2004 we in Florida were hit by 4 Hurricanes .Fema did a very poor job here so I think that the states would be better off forming their own emergency response teams based on their different/specific needs.Give the Fema funding to the states as they would do a much better job with that money. Fema is nothing more than another ineffective Federal bureaucy.

    August 27, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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