House Speaker John A. Boehner said repeatedly on Tuesday that he will work with the Obama administration to make sure that it has the resources it needs to support Oklahoma in the wake of the deadly tornado that swept through the state Monday.
“Our hearts and our prayers go out to those in Oklahoma who are victimized by this storm, especially our colleague, Tom Cole,” Mr. Boehner said at a morning news conference. “Moore, Oklahoma, is his hometown, so obviously he’s there, and so I’ve ordered the flags this morning to be lowered to half staff in honor of those who have suffered through this terrible storm.”
Asked whether Congress would demand spending offsets to provide relief and about the relief package for Superstorm Sandy, which passed without a majority of GOP support in the House, Mr. Boehner said simply, “Let me just speak on behalf of all of our members, including those from Oklahoma. We will work with the administration to make sure that they have the resources they need.”
CQ Roll Call reported that Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants any federal disaster assistance to be accompanied with spending offsets — a position the spending hawk has consistently taken during his career.
Mr. Coburn said Tuesday he spoke with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Monday night about FEMA’s response, and that “any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
He also told CNN Tuesday the debate about spending and offsets shouldn’t be on peoples’ minds at the moment.
“It’s insensitive to even talk about it now,” Mr. Coburn said. “It just shows the crassness of Washington versus the sensitivity that we need to have.”