After calling for cuts to FEMA over the past weekend, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 Monday night and was asked if he wanted to get rid of the agency entirely.
Host Cooper told the Texas congressman about FEMA’s body recovery team preventing more casualties from Hurricane Katrina that likely would have occurred if there was no federal response, but Paul was steadfast towards his critique on the agency.
“Well, the thing of it is, you create more hazard by the government by saying, ‘You pay this and the government will be there, they’ll always be there to take care of you and pay your bills,’” he said. “But the worst part of this is the economical consequences of saying, ‘Well I can’t afford my insurance.’”
Paul added: “A lot of them are middle class people with beach houses. And they can’t get their insurance because it’s costly so the government guarantees it. So they give a reason for people to do dumb things. They build in the places that the market says, ‘don’t build here, it’s too dangerous.’”
“And then when Katrina hit, some of the guard units you know around the country that could have been helpful, they were over fighting wars in the Middle East. So it is such gross distortion, you know. Thing weren’t as bad as it pretended to be. Before 1979 without FEMA, it wasn’t disasters. Go and show me where there was a much worse care before FEMA and I don’t think you can give me any of those indications.”
Cooper then reminded Paul about the 1900 Galvestion hurricane that killed 6,000 people. The CNN host mentioned that if FEMA were around, a sea wall that local officials could not afford to create could have been handled with federal assistance.
Paul disagreed with that assessment. “They survived without FEMA and they did rebuild the city and it was mostly local funds.”
The CNN host asked the congressman if there was any role for the federal government to play in a disaster response? Paul did think there was, although in a reduced role.
“Rescue operations, I think so,” he said. “As a matter of fact, my approach, I think was a very modest and reasonable approach when they came for funds. Even today or back you know when we got hit at Galveston. I said I’ll vote for the funds but you have to cut it. We’re broke. The economic condition of this country is dire.”
WATCH: Video from CNN, which aired on August 30, 2011.