With what many predicted to be a historic hurricane on course to barrel through the northeast, Republican presidential hopeful Texas Rep. Ron Paul told New Englanders at a campaign stop in New Hampshire Friday to not put too much faith in FEMA:
Rep. Paul blasted the agency for its regulations and cited instances in his own Galveston Texas district where the community has successfully survived hurricanes, without FEMA. Rep. Paul told NBC:
"We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960," Paul said. "I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
There's no magic about FEMA. They're a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don't have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states," Paul told NBC News. "A state can decide. We don't need somebody in Washington."
This is not the first time Rep. Paul has come out swinging against the agency, which in general has faced criticism in recent years from watchdogs and commentators alike. In a May 13 CNN interview, the Texas congressman suggested abolishing the agency:
"I mean it's - it's a moral hazard to say that government is always going to take care of us when we do dumb things. I'm trying to get people to not do dumb things. Besides, it's not authorized in the constitution."
"So there's a strong resentment toward the way FEMA operates, because they're bureaucrats who don't understand the rule of law nor do they understand local control and property rights."
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 killed 6,000 people. FEMA's website reads that the agency has 7,603 employees across the country that work to support citizens and first responders to build, sustain, and improve the nation's capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. ABC News reports that to receive FEMA’s help – a state must declare a state of emergency and request help from the president. The agency directed relief for both Hurricane’s Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005.
(H/T: The Hill)