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.