Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who opposed emergency disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy and called the bill a “slush fund,” suggested he’ll support legislation to provide similar assistance to victims of the tornado in Moore, Okla., provided it’s tailored narrowly enough to prevent federal dollars from being appropriated to other states.
“[Sandy aid] was totally different,” Inhofe said on MSNBC Tuesday morning. “They were getting things, for instance, that was supposed to be in New Jersey. They had things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there, they were 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’s remarks are telling not just because they hint at a double standard. They also suggest Inhofe will support disaster relief for Oklahoma whether or not it’s offset with other budget cuts. Inhofe’s Oklahoma colleague, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) says he’ll fight to make sure Oklahoma disaster relief is offset. Conservative Republicans have been trying unsuccessfully for two years to use disaster assistance as an opportunity to cut domestic spending programs elsewhere in the budget.
A total of 31 Senate Republicans opposed the final Sandy relief bill earlier this year, citing small appropriations to repair damages and address concerns outside the hardest hit areas in New York and New Jersey, as well as the fact that the funds weren’t offset, and because it contained $16 billion to be distributed as Community Development Block Grants.
Watch Inhofe on MSNBC below.