Biden: FEMA ‘Doing One Helluva Job’

Photograph by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

FEMA workers load food for affected areas onto waiting trucks at Republic Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012 in Farmingdale, New York.

Vice President Joe Biden says, as best as he can tell, FEMA is doing “one helluva of a job.”

That could be a risky comment, so early in the federal response to Hurricane Sandy’s flooding and devastation in New Jersey and York — evocative of the words that former President George W. Bush had for then-Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast: “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”

(FEMA actually wasn’t then, and Brown was out of a job days later.)

Yet Biden maintains, from all he’s heard, it’s true this time.

The vice president took part in President Barack Obama’s conference call with the governors of all the storm-affected states, Biden told reporters today.

“I think FEMA is doing an incredible job,” Biden said, with a nod to FEMA Director Craig Fugate. “I wish you guys could have been on the phone with all of the governors. Uniformly they were incredibly grateful to Fugate and the president.”

“So, this is working like it’s supposed to,” Biden said. “FEMA has been reorganized. It’s doing one helluva a job. It pre-positioned resources. The governors are all cooperating with one another. The mayors are cooperating. I’ve never in all my experience seen as much cooperation, and acknowledgement of that cooperation, from city, state, federal levels. So it’s working like it’s supposed to. ”


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