Can Romney Recover From His Stance on FEMA?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Daily News blogger Zerlina Maxwell checks in on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's flip-flop concerning federal spending on disaster relief in light of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. She determines that politically, he will have difficulty outrunning the eye of the storm.

… Although he has flip-flopped already, in a response to a question about whether government spending on federal disaster ought to be shifted to the states, Romney said:

"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 the opposite question, what should we keep?"

"Including disaster relief, though?" debate moderator [CNN's] John King asked Romney. The response:

"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."

Of course now that the entire East Coast of the country is facing the prospects of billions of dollars in damage from Sandy, Romney is saying he would not get rid of FEMA, only that he would shift the power to the states. The problem with this position should be apparent to anyone who was alive during Hurricane Katrina: A robust federal disaster response mechanism is essential. When a disaster is too large for the states to handle, people are left on rooftops. They go days without water and food. They die.


Read Zerlina Maxwell's entire piece at the Daily News.

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