Mitt Romney finally answers the FEMA question

Charles Dharapak/AP
After days of not hearing reporters' questions about what he wants to do with Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mitt Romney's campaign finally released a statement that (sort of) provides an answer. Late on Wednesday night, the campaign gave reporters a brief comment on the matter in response to his earlier statements during the Republican primary that he thinks FEMA's work should be done by states.

"I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters."

That sounds almost like an endorsement of the way FEMA works now. He says he will help the agency fulfill its mission, but what Romney doesn't say is what he believes that mission should actually be. He specifically mentions first responders, but a major part of FEMA's work involves support and recovery efforts after the initial disaster has passed. He also reiterates his stance that local governments do a better job than the federal officials, but doesn't say whether disaster spending should be offset by cuts to other government programs elsewhere, a policy that many Republicans pushed for during Hurricane Irene's flooding last year. No matter what you think of his answer as long as hurricane cleanup is still a issue—which it will be until Election Day—its unlikely to stop the questions.

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