Okla. senators embrace disaster aid after opposing Sandy relief bill
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:27 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Amid expressions of horror, grief and resolve over the devastating tornado that smashed into suburban Oklahoma City, many lawmakers expressed relief on Tuesday that they took action in January to bulk up the FEMA disaster relief fund.
But Oklahoma's two U.S. senators, both Republicans, found themselves in an awkward position for having voted against the $60 billion supplemental appropriation bill that was largely aimed at providing relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into coastal New York and New Jersey last year.
The bill left the disaster fund run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a healthy balance of $11.6 billion. FEMA spokesman Dan Watson said the amount is sufficient for handling immediate response and recovery efforts in Oklahoma and residual recovery costs associated with Sandy.
In January, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe called the Sandy appropriations bill a “slush fund” because it included long-term infrastructure spending and funding for projects aimed at disasters other than the devastation along the East Coast.
The measure became embroiled in a tense budget fight over the “fiscal cliff” tax hikes in January.
A day after a 2-mile-wide tornado wiped out whole blocks of homes, killed at least 24 people and left thousands homeless in Moore, Okla., Inhofe vowed that Oklahomans in need would not abuse federal disaster aid, as he said had occurred in the aftermath of Sandy.
“That's totally different,” Inhofe told MSNBC. “Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won't happen in Oklahoma.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, who opposed the Sandy appropriation because it was not offset with budget savings elsewhere, pledged to make a similar “pay-for” demand if further disaster funds were needed. For now, however, he was focused on getting aid to the victims.
“As the ranking member of the Senate committee that oversees FEMA, I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay,” Coburn said in a statement.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song
- Spyware in government computers ‘has Russian paw prints all over it’
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- ‘Holy grail of guitars’ for sale in April auction
- Kansas public school funding unconstitutional
- Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden’s leaks to cost billions, take years to fix
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- Overdue video puts woman in S.C. jail
- Great-grandfather takes wrong Conn. boy home from school
- Would wind turbines deflate hurricanes?
- Traffic cameras rejected in Ohio ruling