Will GOP Lawmakers Block Federal Aid to Oklahoma?

The IAM hopes Oklahoma lawmakers will do their part to help the tornado stricken area in their state to recover. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, both Republicans, have been outspoken critics of federal disaster relief funding for other parts of the country in the past.

The Oklahoma Senators were two of 36 Republican Senators to vote against disaster funding for Superstorm Sandy in January. In 2011, both opposed legislation to increase relief funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – unless it came with matching budget cuts.

In April, Coburn suggested the Department of Homeland Security recover or divert $5.25 billion of FEMA grants to “higher priorities.” He has already said any relief for his state during this disaster must be met with offsetting budget cuts.

By the same token, Coburn fought vigorously for immediate FEMA aid when an ice storm hit Oklahoma in 2007. Inhofe praised the “much-needed federal assistance” that the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided after a series of severe storms hit the state in 2008.