FEMA says the $11.6 billion in its disaster fund should cover immediate response and recovery efforts in Oklahoma, but the state’s two senators are still in an awkward position, as they both opposed the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Tom Coburn took issue with the Sandy appropriation because it wasn’t offset by cuts elsewhere, and he said on Tuesday that he’ll stand by that principle — meaning he might wind up opposing an aid bill for his home state if more funds are needed. However, his colleague James Inhofe said on MSNBC that the situation on the East Coast was “totally different.” “Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place,” he said. “That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
Rep. Peter King of New York responded, “I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy involved here,” but told Politico that he would vote to provide aid to tornado victims without budget offsets. “I don’t want to hold the people of Oklahoma responsible for what elected officials are saying, for the husband and wife without a home, for the people who lost all their worldly possessions,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t want to see another fight over disaster funding. He said of lawmakers who voted against Sandy aid, but might support funding for Oklahoma, “I won’t hold it against anyone.” Still, they should probably think twice before holding fund-raisers in his state.