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The Oklahoma Republican Senators:
Oklahoma’s two Republican senators are pledging any assistance needed for areas devastated by the tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., on Monday, but they’re maintaining their conservative views on federal spending.The offsets are an interesting argument. What should be cut to offset federal tornado help? Subsidies to the oil industry? Military spending? Care of the poor? Care of the elderly?
Sen. James M. Inhofe is warning against a supplemental spending bill that balloons with money to assist other areas. Asked by MSNBC about his opposition to the aid package for recovery from Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast, he called the situation in Moore “totally different” because of extraneous provisions.
“They were getting things, for instance, that was supposed to be in New Jersey. They were getting things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there. They were putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C., everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place,” Inhofe said. “That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ranking member Tom Coburn said he had already spoken with the top Homeland Security official about the need for aid.
“I spoke with Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano last night about FEMA’s response. We still don’t know the scope of devastation and won’t for some time. But, 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.
Coburn’s statement Tuesday followed comments Monday first reported by CQ Roll Call that emergency supplemental money for tornado recovery would need offsets, maintaining his long-held view on that issue.
Once we go that offset route, different groups in the society are in some sense asked to pay for the disaster relief, and the identity and income and health and the ability to pay of those groups does matter.