Just last year, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney downplayed the government’s role in response to disasters across the country. Now, after the destruction left behind by Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast, Romney seems to be more in favor of FEMA.
“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,” Romney said at a debate last June. “And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
CNN moderator John King asked Romney if that would include relief for a disaster and Romney said, “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.”
The campaign for Romney has been assuring voters across the country that a Romney administration would never leave victims of natural disasters out in the cold. On Wednesday, Romney said the following in a statement released by his campaign:
“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”
The statement was released on Wednesday just one day after he decided not to answer questions about his stance regarding federal disaster aid. Romney’s campaign did not mention how disaster aid would be funded as other Republicans suggest that it should be funded by cutting funding to other programs. One of those in favor of cutting other programs’ funding to fund disaster relief is Paul Ryan. Earlier this year Ryan suggested that when a natural disaster occurs, the government should look for savings in the budget so the country can rebuild schools, roads and homes.
In what was an interesting political scene in New Jersey on Wednesday, Republican Governor Chris Christie toured the ravaged shore with Democratic President Barack Obama and heaped praise on the president. Christie said, “The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA.”
FEMA currently has close to $8 billion in cash to deal with immediate disaster relief but that more than likely will not be enough to cover the damage from Hurricane Sandy, which should go down as the costliest storm in United States history.