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  • Chart of the Week: Obama's Abuse of FEMA Declarations

    President Obama has used his executive power in many ways to expand the role of government. But there’s one area that stands out: Obama’s frequent and repeated use of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue emergency and disaster declarations.

    Heritage’s Matt Mayer reports that Obama “eviscerated the record books by issuing 243 declarations in 2011,” continuing an alarming pattern that begin under President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. Mayer says FEMA has become a “political pork-barrel spending agency.”

    The trend is illustrated in this week’s chart, which portrays the use of major disaster declarations, emergency declarations, and fire management assistance declarations. The data dates back to the Eisenhower administration in 1953.

    Obama is averaging 153 declarations per year. Bush comes in second with an eight-year average of 129.6.

    Mayer says it’s time to end the federalization of disasters. He wants Congress to clarify which disasters meet federal requirements, reduce the cost-sharing provision for all FEMA declarations, and overhaul existing FEMA processes and procedures.

    Did you find this week’s chart informative? Share your ideas for next week’s chart in the comments below, send us an email at scribe@heritage.org or tweet @RobertBluey.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Chart of the Week: Obama's Abuse of FEMA Declarations

    1. Jsmith says:

      This makes perfect sense when one considers (1) Obama views the Federal government as ominpotent and the states merely as sectors of the republic, and (2) Obama's ego.

    2. cosmoscon says:

      What I find troubling from this graph starts in the mid 1990's. It is at this point that we start step function increase (i.e. not gradual) from the historical norm.

      Is this because we have more natural disasters? I don't think so.

      Is this because of higher concentrations of industry and people that cause more damage during these storms? Probably a little but the population didn't double in the mid 90's.

      I think the reason is more related to the rapid acceptance of a Liberal/Socialistic mentality which teaches us that the Government exists to bail us out and take care of us.

      This must stop now!

    3. Vox Populi says:

      I would be interested to see the numbers on disaster declarations to red states versus those to blue states. I suspect that there would be something of a bias…

      • Luan says:

        agree – I live in TN and May 2010, we got 20+ inches rain in 48hrs wiping out neighborhoods and downtown Nashville including Grand ole Opry. We never even got a "fly-over" by the President. I recall he flew from DC to Louisiana for a speech and bypassed the airspace over TN. (It was well documented in the news) It took 4 days before MSM came down and aired our plight. On day 10 Janet Napolitano made an appearance – noted that we would be an example to the rest of the sttes because neighbor helped neighbor – "work done/no help needed" Then there was TX with all the fires last year burning a large 1/3 of the state – and yet NO help came from the Govt.

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      "Never let a crisis go to waste"! Well in Obama's case it translates into buying votes.

    5. allen says:

      Show a Chart } How many days the President was not in the White House, to include Vacations etc, How many Miles on Airforce One. Golf Course, Campaigning Etc.

    6. dan schmutz says:

      How many raises in salaries has the congress made during the past five years and how much were the increases? What formula did they use? Was it by a percentage or just a quick decision?

      • Luan says:

        How much did "insider trading" increase their personal wealth? Look they make $174k/yr – and most live 2 places so that's not an extravegant pay all things considered, yet people like Pelosi has a wealth in the hundreds of millions…hmmmm

    7. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Whe.n the hurricanes hit Florida, FEMA rushed in, my sons told me that they handed out things like food vouchers, tarps etc witout ever checking the need. Wonder how many went to those who didn't need them but saw another free hand out ?

    8. Mr. Hicks says:

      By law, The Robert T. Stafford (R) Act, the president can only approve federal disaster declarations upon request of a state's governor. A president cannnot authorize a federal disaster unless the governor of the state has made a state disaster declaration and an assessment verifies the damages. To not approve a requested disaster declaration, which allows for spending federal funds for disaster recovery, would be construed as penalizing the requesting state. The states which made the greatest number of disaster declaration requests, and received the greast amount of federal dollars in 2011 are; Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

    9. Kathryn says:

      Hook Romney up to a lie detector and ask him how his FEMA declarations would compare to those of Bush or Obama….

    10. A. D. Monday says:

      Obama is a major disaster.

    11. The Balls says:

      2011 was a bad, bad year, weather-wise.

    12. David Hrivnak says:

      It appears the implication is that Obama declaring disasters at the drop of the hat. But if it were truly a tendency of this administration would you not suspect this would have happened the first two years as well? Infact they were less than those under Bush. And if it was a Democratic plot to expand the government then why is the second highest be under Bush?

      What worries me is could this be partially, (not totally) a foretaste of things to come in a hotter world? There appears to be an upward trend and while part of it may be the government “helping”, part of it could be a trend. The climate models predict significant heat waves, more heavy downpours, more drought areas.

      If it was just disaster in the USA I would tend to agree with you. But with record wild fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and Thailand. A significant thawing of 1/3 of the northern ice caps and 80% of the world’s glaciers in retreat, we are getting data points from many other areas as well.

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