U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a spotty history, but if the organization did not exist lawmakers would have to create it.

"They've performed disastrously in (Hurricane) Katrina. But I think they really got their act together now," Lieberman told reporters during an afternoon telephone conference on the recovery effort following Tropical Storm Irene.

The retiring senator was asked to weigh in on the need for FEMA after the issue was raised on CNN earlier in the day during an interview with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Stamford Democrat.

Malloy, who met with FEMA representatives Monday, told American Morning anchor Christine Romans the state is awaiting a federal disaster declaration. Romans noted New York and North Carolina have already obtained declarations.

"I suspect that will come," Malloy said. "Certainly I've been on the phone with officials at FEMA ... We have filed the same paperwork they have filed ... It gives people hope that the experiences and losses they're currently having there'll be some assistance with respect to that at the end of the road."

Romans asked Malloy to respond to tea party favorite U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who has been critical of FEMA, saying it is wasteful and inefficient, and questioned the need for the agency.

"I think he's an idiot," Malloy said, adding later: "What state has benefited more than Texas over the years from declarations of disasters?"

Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said of Paul's position: "This is taking an ideology to really an illogical and self-destructive extreme."

"I know we're in a time of anti-federal government feeling in the country and believe me I understand why," Lieberman said. "But if there's one thing I would guess that an overwhelming majority of the American people want the federal government to do is help them when a natural disaster strikes them, their neighbors."

Lieberman said he has been aiding Malloy in pushing for an expedited disaster declaration and has received an encouraging and positive response.