Debbie RolenStaff Writer
May 29, 2013
Four members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation - Sen. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn and Reps. Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin - had their reasons when they voted against legislation that included federal relief aid for states hit by Hurricane Sandy.
For the most part the reason - or excuse, depending on your point of view - was that the bills contained large amounts of money for purposes not related to the devastating hurricane that hit the East Coast. All of them said they didn’t oppose federal aid for Sandy victims, only the particular bills that contained that aid.
Unfortunately, almost no one in America remembers the Oklahoma lawmakers’ stated reasons for voting against the Sandy relief bills. All anyone remembers is that they voted “no.”
Predictably, those votes have come back to haunt those lawmakers and the state. Politicians around the country have criticized Oklahoma seeking relief aid for victims of last week’s deadly Moore and Shawnee tornadoes after our leaders opposed aid for the East Coast. Bloggers, twitterers and pundits have joined in the fray. “Firestorm” is too strong a word to use for the criticism, but it certainly is a controversy. Most of the criticism has been leveled at Inhofe and Coburn.
Few critics argue that Oklahoma should be denied federal aid. Most have opined that Oklahoma should receive assistance despite the votes of the four members of Congress.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state was buffeted by Sandy, defended Oklahoma’s storm victims:
“Americans need to help other Americans when we’re in trouble,” Christie said. “We never support irresponsible spending … everything that’s necessary to help them absolutely, and should be done quickly.”
It’s a shame that the votes cast by Inhofe, Coburn, Bridenstine and Mullin very predictably resulted in this distraction, which has shifted some of the focus away from where it should be - on the victims of the Moore and Shawnee tornadoes.
— Distributed by The Associated Press