Romney in 2011: ‘Makes no sense’ to fund federal disaster relief

Charles Dharapak/AP

As millions of Americans prepare for and respond to Hurricane Sandy, comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney regarding cuts to emergency response budgets are resurfacing.

The Atlantic, Slate and several additional publications have pointed to comments Romney made during a 2011 debate, when he said the federal officials must look everywhere to cut the deficit.

“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 at the Republican primary debate. “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?"

When asked if that included disaster relief, Romney said:

“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.”

The Romney campaign has partially walked back the comments.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to Politico. “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 [the Federal Emergency Management Agency].”

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