#Sandy Reminder: Mitt Romney Would Abolish FEMA

As the Frankenstorm batters almost the entirety of America’s east coast, many of the affected states have already declared states of emergency (including all of New York), and the federal government has made formal disaster area declarations in many of them, as well. 

As the eastern half of the country cleans up the damage, federal aid will likely be requested and granted. When that happens, remember that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney would shut FEMA down, because 10th Amendment or something. 

“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 the opposite question, what should we keep?”

“Including disaster relief, though?” debate moderator John King asked Romney.

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney replied. “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.”

So, there you have it. Even though FEMA routinely contracts with private industry to provide needed relief goods and services, Romney would shut FEMA down and make states and municipalities cover the cleanup on their own. It’s “immoral to pass on debt” to future generations, but it’s ok of those future generations live in a disaster zone and wade to school amid downed power lines. 

If someone asked Romney today about that FEMA answer, he’d deny ever saying it, and he’d pledge to strengthen FEMA. That’s because he’s in full Etch-a-Sketch mode and has shifted to the center, but in such a brazen way that he will quite literally say whatever he thinks his immediate audience wants him to hear. 


  • Romney is correct, the states should have responsibility for
    state controlled FEMA

  • Nothing like misapplying the logic to preach to your choir here, Alan.

    So we need a big stupid bureaucracy to pass ‘free’ cash down to the states, eh? There are these things call insurance companies. And then these other things called reinsurance companies.

    Acting as though the world would end with no FEMA is disingenuous at best, political point-making (that you often decry) at the middle, or plain stupidity at worst.

    Also… hello? ArtVoice. Liberal Mecca of WNY. Not voting for Romney. Why are you bothering with your petty political attacks? Trying to convert someone who will already not be voting for Romney? Trying to get Obama to win by 30.01 % points instead of just 30?

    • – Many municipalities are self-insured for many risks.

      – No one said the “world would end” with no FEMA.

      – My political attack is only “petty” because it’s backed up by video proof and otherwise uncontroverted

      – Artvoice is on the “Internet”, and I post links to it on “Twitter” and “Facebook”. Astonishingly, this means that people in other states – even other countries – are likely to see it.

      • backed up by video proof and otherwise uncontroverted

        Actually no, that video doesn’t prove what your headline says “Abolish”, or “shut FEMA down” as your post says multiple times.  John King’s question at that debate (which your quote of the transcript conveniently deliberately misleadingly omits) didn’t even ask him that.

        here’s the question your excerpt left out so that your untrue paraphrasing wouldn’t be as obvious:

        King: 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?

        ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion …  [then continues as you quoted]


        • But it was in the video, and Romney’s underlying point remains unchanged from the way he worded it – not my characterization of it. 

          Lame, indeed. 

          • No, the underlying point of King’s question which your quote skipped asked Romney plainly whether “the states should take on more of this role”.  Romney’s reply was to that question, and said nothing about abolishing, closing, shutting down, or ending anything.

            The underlying meaning of more isn’t the same as that of all. King didn’t ask about all.  He could have, but didn’t.  Thus your use of “abolish” and “shut down” are plainly less than honest. Writing the excerpt in a way that omits the wording of King’s question tries to make that less apparent since all readers won’t click the video.  

            Although you didn’t edit that question out of the video, what you wrote about it is full of lies by the same standard of “lie” which you hold the other side up to.

            It’s especially lame that your whine so often about the R side lying when you do precisely the same thing on behalf of your political side.

          • No, a “lie” is to say that Jeep is going to build cars in China when Jeep has no intention of doing any such thing. Here, we’re just analyzing Romney’s own words. 

            You use a large volume of words to try and rebut Romney’s answer to a question whether states should shoulder more the burden of disaster cleanup. His words speak for themselves – he thinks federal spending on frivolities like “disaster relief” is “immoral” and should be returned to the states whenever possible, or – better yet – to the private sector. 

            It couldn’t be a clearer answer and his answer was exactly the sort of 10th Amendment nonsense that prime GOP primary voters would want to hear.

          • 1. What Romney said was immoral is the level of borrowing (“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…”), not the purpose of the spending or anything to do with the 10th amendment.  So, nice try on that part.  

            Obama during the 2008 campaign had called the very same thing “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” when criticizing Bush (“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents … $30,000 for every man, woman and child. It’s irresponsible. IT’S UNPATRIOTIC!”).

            2.  A lie is any deliberately false statement, whether about jeeps or budget proposals.

            If Politician X answers affirmatively and enthusiastically to a question about reducing federal spending in any department or shifting “more” of its spending to the states (as King asked in this instance), then somebody is lying if they report that as advocating “abolishing” or “shutting down” said department instead of describing it as cutting, reducing, scaling back, or something of that nature.

            If an anti-Obama blogger ever claimed Obama had advocated abolishing or shutting down all federal DOT spending on suburban highways, or abolishing or shutting down all DoD spending on nuclear weapons – when actually he’s advocated reducing spending on those things – it would be a lie.  I’d think it would be something you’d criticize as a lie if done against a candidate you favor.

          • From the Atlantic article you quoted before: “During one of last year’s Republican primary debates, Mitt Romney made it crystal clear that he would like to shrink the federal government’s role in responding to natural disasters and give more of that responsibility to the states.”

            That’s 10th Amendment stuff; de-federalizing natural disaster relief efforts. If you deny that a massive, multi-billion dollar natural disaster affecting over 10 million people has federal, nationwide consequences, then I think you deny palpable reality. Abolition of FEMA is one of those perennial Republican tropes. Bush I weakened it, Clinton strengthened it, Bush II turned it into a dumping ground for big donors before the Democrats under Obama resurrected it. 

            I don’t know why you continue repeatedly to deny that the words Romney said were what he said, or what he meant to say. Within the context of the CNN clip above, Romney was SPECIFICALLY asked about FEMA in the wake of the tornado that had recently leveled Joplin, MO. Romney quite clearly and unequivocally said that – EVEN WITH JOPLIN – we should return emergency response to the states from the federal government, or better yet leave it to private industry. That’s what he said. I don’t understand why I’m arguing with you over the clear meaning of the words that Romney said.  So, he didn’t expressly state he’d like to abolish FEMA, he merely laid out the way in which he would prefer to abolish FEMA. 

            I wonder how it would play in Queens or on the Jersey Shore for a candidate to say, we’re going to let FEMA take a pass on you. After all, this costs money, and some of it may need to be borrowed, and really – you don’t deserve to have the infrastructure around you rebuilt, or any assistance or relief because, you know, prospective macroeconomic platitude/talking point. 

      • Oh, I see. I can’t use hyperbole to reject your silly post, put hyperbole is fine as long as it’s being used against Romney. Got it.

    • We don’t need no steenking FEMA. We need some more Homeland Security and more Patretard Acts that take advantage of all the scared shitless citizenry who agree to anything so they won’t get attacked again.

  • Romney is horrible. I really hope he doesn’t become president.

  • Phillip Bobrowski

    Please indicate, from whatever source you may choose, where all “disaster relief” for the entire Country comes only from FEMA.

    • The point is that Congress can reroute disaster relief funds to any agency that can fund at the local level.  Why keep another agency that has failed over and over again?  The Red Cross and DoD can respond to disasters quickly.  Years after Katrina, FEMA was still having major issues with disaster recovery and even staged their own press conference having FEMA employees pose as reporters…  FEMA offers more bureucratic red tape that slows down the response time for relief and payouts to the citizens that are victims of a disaster….

  • Well it seems that 1/2 the country wants a man like Romney in office….wants to ‘privatize everything”.
    goes from one extreme to the other……his lastest lie is JEEP IN OHIO…..and his lie about JEEP IN HIS NEW AD!………….A LIE IS A LIE. but doesn’t stop him…..Lied about taking Work requirement out of the Welfare program proved by every source it was a lie! he kept it up any way!….in June 2012 Debate he stated  “Federal Emergency Management should be privatized ! …send block grants to all states…let them spend it their way…..with no gov. requirements…so if the spent in before a disaster…then that state gets no help…………but today………..he’s out there with ‘his bus’ helping……….behind ‘CLOSED DOORS’ he stood in front of his “PEERS’ and stated the 47% remark….what he said he ment!……how does he own up to his remark…………..I stated it wrong i am for the 100%!…….He want to “Privatize S.S. turn Medicare into a voucher., get rid of Medicaid…..why!…..the rich like him have no use for it or will ever use it…..not like the 98% of us who paid for it!………..The man was against everything this president has done up to a week before the Monday nite debate and the he was ‘for 90% of eveything this president did …..and he would do the same if you let him be president!…..he loves this nation…said so! but his fortune is safe in ‘Foreign countries” safe from any recession or depression and pays as little taxes that is leagally required of ‘him”
    He’s going to stand up to China….but he won’t even face 170 Sansata Tecknologies workers in Freeport ill that are having their “JOBS OUTSOURCED TO CHINA….BY ‘BAIN CAPITAL’ THE CO. HE CREATED..

  • It makes perfect sense  for the local government, which has just been ravaged by [insert natural disaster here], to be responsible to dig itself out. I mean, Louisiana OBVIOUSLY could have recovered from Katrina by itself, right? 

    Just dumb. 

  • FEMA officials were not ready for Katrina in 2005 and failed to respond quickly and as a result many lives were lost.  If FEMA cannot respond properly to another major natural disaster 7 years later, it should be shut down.  Why waste BILLIONS on an agency if it does not function properly????  There are too many inept federal agencies out there, and many new inept federal employees were hired on during the Bush administration.  The moral of this story is that if FEMA cannot effectively implement a disaster recovery plan 7 years post Katrina, should it really be in operation???  The US DoD can assist local governments who need help when a national disaster strikes and the President is authorized to provide Community Disaster Loans….  Why add another agency to the mix, with more red tape that slows recovery efforts down…  Get real people

    • Local Government is exactly why there was a failure during Katrina.

    • Have you seen (republican) governor Chris Christie’s comments about FEMA.  Apparently they are doing a great job with disaster relief.  The problem with Katrina was not the FEMA institution, or federal government run disaster relief, it was the appointment of an inept head of FEMA, who had no experience what so ever, by a Republican president.

      What Sandy proves is that FEMA works when you have people in charge who understand the role of federal government in massive, state-spanning disasters.

  • It didn’t bother Romney to take between $400-600 million from the government for his Olympics.   That the reason he was able to “save” the Olympics.   It was $379 in the red when Romney took it over but he got more than enough from Government funds to put it back in the black.  It sure wasn’t due to all his talents.

  • FEMA is necessary because natural disasters don’t respect states borders or states rights. The idea that individual states could coordinate relief and share resources without a macro management plan is unrealistic and naive. Also most of the red states Romney will win couldn’t afford to save themselves. This is just another example where the federal government keeps them from sliding further towards third world status.

  • Many states do not cooperate with one another as it is, and
    natural disasters do not recognize state boundaries. All Romney’s solution will
    do is dilute the resources for emergency response, increase state bureaucrats
    with duplicate tasks, and increase the death tolls.

  • Romney on Sandy: 
    “What’s the problem? My house is flooded and totally destroyed. Who really needs FEMA? .I don’t. Ryan voted to cut it’s funding 7 times. He must know something!  Heck, I’ll just buy another one or two replacement houses” “I don’t understand, I just don’t get it. Why can’t you just ask your father to do that for you?” By the way send a can of food to the Red Cross.

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