We talked earlier about Oklahoma's junior senator, Republican Tom Coburn (R), announcing last night that he will only support federal disaster relief -- for his own constituents -- if it's financed by comparable spending cuts elsewhere. But what about Oklahoma's senior senator?
Republican Sen. James Inhofe, like Coburn, has opposed emergency aid in the recent past, including voting against a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. This morning, however, the conservative senator said that was "totally different."
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. Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won't happen in Oklahoma."
Inhofe didn't specify his intentions, exactly, but I took his comments to mean he'd consider supporting relief for his constituents, even if the costs are not offset, so long as the aid bill doesn't include expenditures unrelated to Oklahoma. In other words, at least at first blush, it seems to me Inhofe is not on board with Coburn's position.
Of course, all of this speculation is premature -- we don't yet know when there will be a disaster-relief bill, what will be in it, how much it'll cost, etc. -- but it appears the political fight got underway just five hours after disaster struck.