Inhofe: Tornado aid ‘totally different’ from Hurricane Sandy aid

May 21, 2013

In the wake of the devastating tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) rejected comparisons between federal aid for this disaster and the Hurricane Sandy relief package he voted against.

That was a "totally different" situation, Inhofe told MSNBC, arguing that the Sandy aid was filled with pork. There were "things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C."

"Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place," he said. "That won't happen in Oklahoma."

The senator appeared to be referring to the fact that some funds from the Sandy package for the Federal Highway Administration could go to the Virgin Islands, as well as $2 million allocated to the Smithsonian for roofs damaged by the storm. We don't yet know what a congressional relief package for Oklahoma would look like, if one is even necessary. As of Tuesday morning, FEMA has $11.6 billion in its Disaster Relief Fund.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has said that any federal aid to Oklahoma must be offset by cuts. Like Inhofe, he voted against the Hurricane Sandy package. Two of Oklahoma's five members in the House of Representatives, all Republicans, voted against it. Rep. James Lankford voted for a smaller federal flood relief package but against the bigger package. President Obama has declared a federal disaster, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate is headed to Oklahoma.

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Aaron Blake · May 21, 2013