Florida Congressman Calls for FEMA Separation from DHS

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A Florida congressman Wednesday announced plans to introduce a bill making the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) an agency independent from the Department of Homeland Security, the way it was prior to 9/11.

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said his bill is not just in response to the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, "it is the result of the increasing evidence that FEMA should not be hindered by a top-heavy bureaucracy when needed to act swiftly to save lives."

"After suffering through three direct hurricane hits last summer and watching my friends in the Gulf weather Katrina, I have seen one consistent problem-red tape and bureaucratic obstacles getting in the way of saving lives," said Foley in a statement.

"Decisions that were once made quickly and efficiently at FEMA now have to go through a web of paperwork, authorizations and releases before they can be made - adding further risk to people," Foley said.

"We need to make FEMA the gold standard of emergency relief. Our goal is to turn that agency into the rapid-response and long-term response disaster agency that FEMA wants to be," the congressman added.

Foley originally called for FEMA's separation from DHS in April 2004, telling the Palm Beach Post on April 28, 2004, "FEMA may be stuck and trapped in the bureaucracy." Added Foley in the interview: "hat may not be helpful if we get a natural disaster."

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