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What do you think of Senator Coburn's stance?

Coburn Wants Oklahoma Tornado Aid Offset With Budget Cuts - Pat Garofalo (

A massive tornado ripped through Moore, Okla. and surrounding cities yesterday, leaving scores of Americans dead. Photos from the scene show complete and total devastation, nothing but dirt and timber where once whole neighborhoods stood.

Federal resources, of course, have been mobilized to aid those affected by the disaster, but Congress will likely look to send additional funds. And in an altogether too familiar scene, a Republican lawmaker has already come forward and said that any disaster aid provided to Oklahoma should be offset with budget cuts elsewhere. Adding insult to injury, the lawmaker in question is Oklahoma’s own Sen. Tom Coburn, as the Huffington Post reported:

Coburn spokesman John Hart on Monday evening confirmed that the senator will seek to ensure that any additional funding for tornado disaster relief in Oklahoma be offset by cuts to federal spending elsewhere in the budget. "That's always been his position [to offset disaster aid]," Hart said. "He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort." Those offsets were achieved in 1995 by tapping federal funds that had not yet been appropriated. […]

Hart said Coburn had "never made parochial calculations" about Oklahoma's disproportionate share of disaster funds, "as his voting record and campaign against earmarks demonstrates." Hart added that Coburn, "makes no apologies for voting against disaster aid bills that are often poorly conceived and used to finance priorities that have little to do with disasters."

As many have noted, Coburn is at least consistent on this front, applying to his own constituents the standard he espoused when disasters hit other locales. But his extreme position has become the norm for a Republican party that has let its obsession with budget cuts cloud any notion of compassion for victims of a disaster.

Remember, Republicans sought to offset aid to the victims of the Joplin tornado. They pulled the same trick after the 2011 earthquake that hit Virginia, with Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor leading the charge. Ditto for Hurricane Irene.

It took three months for Congress to approve an aid package after Hurricane Sandy, and a slew of Republicans voted against the bill, earning them the ire of conservative darling Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. The Federal Emergency Management Agency nearly ran out of money in 2011 due to Republican intransigence.

There is no economic rationale for this position; the federal government is the only entity capable of mobilizing resources on the scale necessary to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster. As I’ve pointed out on this blog, the deficit has plummeted recently (indeed, it is coming down too fast), and as Politico’s Ben White noted, disaster aid has little effect on the nation’s long-term fiscal position, making the opposition to disaster funding doubly ridiculous.

Opposing aid for disaster victims is knee-jerk ideology at its worst, the absurd end point of conservative derision towards anything that smells like government spending. It’s a sad commentary on where Congress is at the moment that a knock-down, drag out debate is becoming necessary for everything, including whether or not to help Americans who just lost literally everything.


Asked by Ballad at 1:05 AM on May. 22, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • i think all i will say right now is that i have voted against Coburn's election twice. hopefully, he will keep his word and not run again in 2016.

    Answer by okmanders at 1:31 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • Politicians on both sides of the aisle are idiots and the voting public is allowing them to ruin our country. Obama and our legislative branch do work for us somehow they have forgotten that and we need to remind them.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:45 PM on May. 22, 2013

  • WOW! The only thing I am surprised at is it took this long to make a political issue. How much more can people take of our own govt putting a price tag and people heads? How long will it take Americans to tell out govt to stop giving our hard earned tax dollars to the countries that hate us? Lets give that money to OUR people who have lost everything they owned for 40 yrs in a matter of seconds??
    Oh ya and the answer to your question is, sucks to be him, and I hope he likes the taste of crow.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 1:32 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • WOW! The only thing I am surprised at is it took this long to make a political issue.

    Oh, don't worry, he was hardly first. Boxer had her fingers in the mess first thing yesterday morning.  Cause, ya know, the tornado is the fault of global warming, and you fix that with a carbon tax.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:44 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • I'm all for budget cuts, but holding emergency funding hostage isn't an honorable quality. That said, there are several redundant and wasteful programs that could be cut or done away with altogether.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:26 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • I think it is smart to make sure any aid is paid for. Too many times a bill to help a state with a disaster will have additional things in it. Make is about the disaster and find a way to pay for it. Seems pretty simple to me.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:34 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • I think the problem lies in that it won't be just an aid bill. There will be aid in there for buliding a bridge to no where in another state, save the hocus pocus, etc that has nothing to do with aid to the tornado victims. If congress would keep things simple they might get more done. If you want to have a bill to fund something that should be the only thing in it. Just like the one for Imigration reform. Someone tried to stick something in regarding gay marriage. Now what in the world does gay marriage have to do with Imigration? Keep them simple and to the point. No fringe benefits for everyone else.

    Answer by baconbits at 11:24 AM on May. 22, 2013

  • i cant help but be blown away at the "aid for our citizens must be done carefully so we arent wasteful" statements yet they throw money at our already overblown military, who wastes A LOT of money, without giving it a second thought. (and im not talking about paying troops, im talking military bureaucrats). ya wanna make sure we have plenty of money, stop giving it to our military that is already larger than the next 25 militaries combined.

    "we cant afford to take care of our own citizens in time of crisis, but lets keep ordering tanks the military generals have told us they no longer use." idiots...

    Answer by okmanders at 11:58 AM on May. 22, 2013