Share

Allen: States need FEMA following natural disasters

|
Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen doesn't see eye-to-eye with Mitt Romney, his party's presidential nominee, when it comes to the question of whether the state or federal government should take the lead after natural disasters strike.

Allen, a former Virginia governor, said Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the best positioned to finance disaster relief efforts, as it does now. He called the existing disaster response system, in which the federal government, takes the lead "a good collaborative approach to getting people back on their feet."

Romney, on the other hand, has suggested that much of the responsibility for handling disasters should rest with the states. Though he wouldn't eliminate FEMA, Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, said states are in a better position than the federal government to understand what is needed following a disaster.

"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 during a Republican debate when asked about FEMA. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."

Romney's statement drew flak this week when Hurricane Sandy smashed into the East Coast, though Romney's campaign insisted that he wasn't proposing an end to federal involvement in disaster response.

Allen, who will appear with Romney Thursday during a three-stop swing through Virginia, said states already do a good job taking the lead and working with FEMA and the Small Business Administration to rebuild in the aftermath. On Tuesday, another Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was complimentary of President Obama's handling of the crisis.

"I think it's a good partnership approach between the states and the federal government," Allen said.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment