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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Obama, Romney Differ On FEMA

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney spent Tuesday dodging reporters’ questions on whether he would eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and send the money back to the states to manage disaster response.

In a June 2011 Republican primary debate (see transcript below), Romney suggested that disaster relief would be better handled by the states, or even the private sector.

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to Politico: “Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions.”

The Romney-Ryan ticket is facing questions about how much their proposed budgets would slash FEMA.

President Obama’s budget would cut FEMA by 3 percent.

The Washington Post reports that both Paul Ryan and Romney have proposed huge budget cuts to non-defense discretionary spending, which includes FEMA:

“Romney has vowed to cut federal spending to less than 20 percent of GDP by 2016 without touching entitlements or defense. That means that non-defense discretionary spending—which includes FEMA aid—would have to be reduced by an eye-popping 40 percent.” From The Washington Post, 10/30/12

But neither Romney nor Ryan will be specific about whether those cuts would affect FEMA and if so, how deeply they would go.

Transcript from Republican Primary Debate

June 13, 2011

John King, CNN/Debate Moderator: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

Mitt Romney: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

King: Including disaster relief, though?

Romney: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

King: All right, we need to work in another break. I know all the candidates want to get in on these issues and other issues. We will get back to them, I promise you that.


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    This is how the wealthy think! I do not want FEMA privatized so that a state runs some sort of watered down fema  only later to be bought out by Bain Capital during an emergency. Lets do it this way: When a major storm arrives in America it is the same as being invaded by a foreign country – the damage to life and property are the same. So if one lives in a state that is hit by a storm or attacked by a foreign country one would not want his state emergency procedures run by J.C. Penny, Wall Mart, Bank of America, Dick Cheney’s Haliburton and of course not by Bain Capital. And one would not like FEMA cut by 40% percent (the Ryan Rand Plan). President Obama early action with Hurricane Sandy is commendable unless one is a Tea Party member, or is Mitch  (no) McConnell. The problem with these people is not a FEMA problem, the problem for these people is they do not like a person of color running the show. Race has been and still is the problem from day one (2008) when the President was elected. For these people President Obama can’t do anything correct, in fact, these people are much the same as hurricane Sandy – they obstruct and cause damage throughout the land and do not want to pay taxes for the damage they do to the country they pretend to love. The beauty about hurricane Sandy is Sandy is creating jobs, forcing the congress to take the America’s infrastructure and global warming seriously. Keep FEMA intact!

    • Steve

       Because the government never wastes money.  The private sector runs lean and mean when push comes to shove. The government just wastes and gives in to lobbyists. Get with the program man.

      • Jkriegel

        Steve, you do not mean this or do you? Surely private companies have been responsible for the largest mess in this country and expected the taxpayer to clean up. 

  • J__o__h__n

    Don’t we end up paying for the charitable response as well as donations are deductible?  With FEMA the government can be held accountable when they are doing a heck of a job.

  • Jkriegel

    That is Romney’s idea: Privatize Fema! Like under Bush we would have corrupt firms like Halliburton committing more Fraud, taking the money out and declaring bankruptcy. Is this not what Mr. Romney has done with Bain: Raiding the funds, driving it into Bankruptcy and the people will be left another time on their own. Like Bill Clinton said: We like it better to go together instead everybody on its own.

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