During a GOP debate in June, presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested he would shut down FEMA, the federal government emergency response agency, and turn over disaster relief to the states (video below).
When asked about FEMA funding, Romney said: "And 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… We cannot, we cannot afford to do those things. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better."
Following Hurricane Sandy's attack on the east coast, Politico.com reported that Romney's campaign now insists the GOP challenger would keep FEMA in place.
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement: “Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions."
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"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.”
However, this is how the system basically works now, reports Salon.com.
That said, FEMA could be hurt in the future by Romney and running mate Paul Ryan's budget proposals, which would allow the federal government to release disaster relief money only if Congress agreed to offsetting budget cuts elsewhere.