House Speaker John Boehner promised cooperation from his party on securing the Oklahoma aid to rebuild after a destructive tornado that ravaged the state.
“We’ll work with the administration on making sure they have the resources they need to help the people of Oklahoma,” Boehner said at a brief press conference on Tuesday with House leadership and Oklahoma representatives.
The House of Representatives struggled to pass a relief bill to aid New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy devastated coastlines. Two of Oklahoma’s five Republican representatives, Reps. Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin, voted against the relief bills. Rep. James Lankford voted for a smaller flood relief package, but not the larger aid package the House eventually passed. The bill funding Sandy relief didn’t pass for more than three months after the storm due to the battle over spending offsets.
Boehner dismissed questions on whether Republicans would demand cuts to offset the spending on tornado aid, likely delaying the relief funds.
“Let me just speak on behalf of all of our members, including those from Oklahoma, that we will work with the administration to make sure that they have the resources that they need,” Boehner said, before a quick “thanks” that concluded the presser.
In the Senate, however, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, has vowed to only provide the aid that can offset by other spending cuts. Coburn is the ranking member of Senate committee that oversees FEMA
“He will ask his colleagues to sacrifice lower priority areas of the budget to help Oklahoma,” spokesman John Hart told the Washington Post.
Boehner announced that flags on Capitol Hill would fly at half-mast Tuesday and Wednesday. He sent out prayers to the affected Oklahomans, and said that Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, was not joining them at the presser because he had returned to his hometown, Moore, the city hardest hit Monday.