Oklahoma's Coburn: I Want Offsets to Pay for Tornado Aid

But Obama promises resources for disaster

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2013 10:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tom Coburn represents Oklahoma, so you might expect him to call for tornado relief to flow to his state no matter the cost—but you'd be wrong. Instead, the Republican senator is demanding that all aid to his state be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget, a spokesman tells Politico and the Washington Post. "He will ask his colleagues to sacrifice lower priority areas of the budget to help Oklahoma," the spokesman said.

  • Coburn and fellow Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe were among those who voted against Hurricane Sandy relief, the Post notes, as were many of the state's Republican House reps.
  • Inhofe today said that Oklahoma relief would look "totally different" than Sandy relief, alleging that the Sandy effort had been full of pork. "They were putting roofs on houses in Washington DC, everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy," he said. "That won't happen in Oklahoma."
  • But President Obama said today that Oklahoma could count on getting whatever resources it needed. "The people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground there for them, beside them, as long as it takes," he said in remarks at the White House today.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin confirmed that Obama had promised to "get rid of red tape for federal resources," according to MSNBC. She also told CBS News today that the storm had wreaked even more havoc than the historic May 3, 1999, tornado. "It just wiped out miles of homes and businesses. … It's just heaps of debris."
  • When asked if Republicans would call for offsets, John Boehner would only say that Congress would work with Obama to get help to the state.

In this Aug. 18, 2011 file photo, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. speaks in Oklahoma City.
In this Aug. 18, 2011 file photo, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. speaks in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
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