FEMA Funding

The total devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy will not be known for a while.  What is apparent is another flip flop on the topic of disaster relief by Mitt Romney.  Back in 2011 at the Republican debates when asked about FEMA funding he stated:

“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.”

Now his campaign claims his position is:

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

Keep in mind that the GOP has:

  • Insisted that any money spent on disaster relief be offset by budget cuts elsewhere.
  • Attempted to slash spending on disaster preparedness and response to offset cuts in military spending
  • Attempted to slash funds to the National Weather Service by $126 million
  • They struck a deal with Democrats as part of the Budget Control Act for disaster preparedness and funding, however then immediately broke the agreement.  That action was partially responsible for nearly forcing a government shutdown.  Paul Ryan authored the budget responsible.

Here is the video of the 2011 debate with Mitt Romney and the text below:

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 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.

 

 

Links:


Romney Now Claims “Federal Government and Fema” Should Help in Disaster Relief (http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/10/30/1110921/romney-flips-fema/)

Republicans Held Disaster Relief Hostage Several Times in 2011 (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/08/27/749511/hurricane-disaster-relief-cuts/)

House GOP Budget Reneges on Disaster Relief Funding Deal Reached in 2011 (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/27/452520/gop-budget-targets-disaster-relief/)

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