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Rep. Ron Paul from Texas is standing behind his controversial remarks about the hurricane. The Republican presidential hopeful stated that the federal government should not be a part of disaster relief, even as Hurricane Irene was bearing down on New York City.
Paul told NBC News on Friday that there was nothing “magic” about the Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA), which has been coordinating the response to Hurricane Irene.”We should be like 1900, we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” said the Texas congressman during a stop in New Hampshire. He regarded FEMA as a “great contribution to deficit financing.”
“We should be coordinated, but coordinated voluntarily with the states,” Paul explained. “A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”
On Sunday, Paul appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and stood behind his remarks. “It’s a system of bureaucratic central-economic planning, which is a fallacy that is deeply flawed. So no, you don’t get rid of something like that in one day,” he said.
“I propose that we save a billion from the overseas war mongering, bring half that home and put it against the deficit, and yes, tide people over until we come to our senses and realize that FEMA has been around since 1978. It has one of the worst reputations for a bureaucracy ever,” added Paul, arguing that federal money often goes to contractors instead of disaster victims.
Paul stated during the interview that he would vote against any request for additional money for FEMA, if the Obama administration asks for an emergency funding bill. He said it was time citizens “transition out of the dependency on the federal government.”
“Where would the money come from?” he responded. “We don’t have any money. What are you going to do? Go hat in hand to China and borrow the money? … The whole idea of FEMA is a gross distortion of insurance.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) argued last week that any potential emergency funding for natural disasters must be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, although not cuts to his salary of course. His remarks have been criticized by members of both parties.