NEW YORK (
) -- Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) is not a fan of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The GOP presidential hopeful blasted the agency as a "great contributor to deficit financing" at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday, saying he believes the country would be better off without FEMA.
"FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas because they only come in and tell you what you can and can't do," Paul said.
Paul's statements came before Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina then pummeled the East Coast through the weekend, leaving millions without power and leaving at least 20 dead.
The United States formed FEMA in 1979 as a way to coordinate federal response to disasters; the agency falls under direction of the Department of Homeland Security.
"FEMA is working with state and local responders to assess damage and assist in the recovery," President Barack Obama said on Sunday in the aftermath of Irene.
Obama said that he told mayors and governors across areas affected by Irene that they shouldn't hesitate to ask for help.
"That's part of the mission we have at FEMA, to work with our state and local partners, to work with the private sector, volunteer and faith-based community, but most of all, as the Secretary and President said, the American people who we work for," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
FEMA received heavy criticism in 2005 after the agency's response time to Hurricane Katrina was questioned. When FEMA finally reached the devastation, it assessed that some 75% of New Orleans housing units were destroyed in the hurricane and that it would have to accommodate 770,000 homeless citizens. FEMA spent $2.7 billion on 145,000 trailers.
Congress determined in February 2006 that the country had failed in its response to Katrina.
"At every level -- individual, corporate, philanthropic and governmental -- we failed to meet the challenge that was Katrina," Congress said in the 2006 report. FEMA Director Michael Brown resigned 14 days after Katrina made landfall.
Monday marks the six-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in southeast Louisiana.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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