Even as recovery operations began May 20, Roll Call quoted Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, as saying disaster spending should be offset with spending cuts elsewhere, dredging up ugly memories of the earlier struggle to pass disaster relief spending for Hurricane Sandy victims.
The GOP was accused of cold-heartedness after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, decided not to hold a vote on Sandy aid before the 112th Congress ended in early January — even though the storm had occurred in October. When the House finally got around to voting on it Jan. 15, only 49 Republicans supported it, leaving House Dems to carry a bill that aided victims in the largely Democratic bastions of New Jersey and New York.
So when a tornado hit a red state with an all-GOP congressional delegation known for its anti-spending bent, the question arose: payback time?
A clearly uncomfortable Boehner was asked in three separate ways the morning after the tornado if he would demand emergency offsets, to which he only said Congress would work with the White House to ensure aid.
By the end of last week, however, it looked unlikely a separate aid bill would even be needed for the tornado. Lost in the shuffle was that only three of the state’s five House members voted against Sandy aid. Voting in favor were Rep. Frank Lucas of Cheyenne and — you guessed it — Moore native Tom Cole.