Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Conservatives: You Know Them by Their Deeds, Part 2

Devastation in Oklahoma

First, a heartfelt hope that Oklahomans in Moore, OK, rebuild their lives as quickly as possible. It won't be easy.

Now, when I heard the news of the devastating twister and saw the reports of the damage, it wasn't long before I wondered how the mostly conservative congressional membership from Oklahoma would react to the disaster.

Christian Senator Inhofe: Sandy victims, suck it. OK tornado victims, I'm with you on this one.

Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Colburn fought fiercely against the aid for Hurricane Sandy victims out east. What would they do now that it's their own backyard? We got an early answer in the Huffington Post this morning:
Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, both Republicans, are fiscal hawks who have repeatedly voted against funding disaster aid for other parts of the country. They also have opposed increased funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers federal disaster relief.
Late last year, Inhofe and Coburn both backed a plan to slash disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. In a December press release, Coburn complained that the Sandy Relief bill contained "wasteful spending," and identified a series of items he objected to, including "$12.9 billion for future disaster mitigation activities and studies."
Coburn spokesman John Hart on Monday evening confirmed that the senator will seek to ensure that any additional funding for tornado disaster relief in Oklahoma be offset by cuts to federal spending elsewhere in the budget. "That's always been his position [to offset disaster aid]," Hart said. "He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort." Those offsets were achieved in 1995 by tapping federal funds that had not yet been appropriated.
In 2011, both senators opposed legislation that would have granted necessary funding for FEMA when the agency was set to run out of money. Sending the funds to FEMA would have been "unconscionable," Coburn said at the time.

Christian Senator Doctor Tom Colburn: We need money so you cough it up.

So, that's part of the record. Oklahoma senators oppose disaster relief as a function of government. Or do they? From the same article:
 And despite their voting record on disaster aid for other states, both Coburn and Inhofe appear to sing a different tune when it comes to such funding for Oklahoma.
In January of 2007, Coburn urged federal officials to speed disaster relief aid after the state faced a major ice storm.
A year later, in 2008, Inhofe lauded the fact that emergency relief from the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be given to 24 Oklahoma counties. "The impact of severe weather has been truly devastating to many Oklahoma communities across the state. I am pleased that the people whose lives have been affected by disastrous weather are getting much-needed federal assistance," he said at the time.
The cost of the recovery effort for this week's tornadoes is likely to be high. After a spate of tornadoes in the state in 1999, Oklahomans requested and received $67.8 million in federal relief funds.
Different time, different tune. What will the conservatives do now that the disaster is in the "real America" rather than the liberal Northeast? Stay tuned. It won't be pretty.

But understand this: When Tom Colburn says that Oklahoma aid must be offset by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, what he is really saying is our relief must be your suffering. That's the current conservative position on everything.

That's very Christian of you, Mr. Colburn. Nice moral compass you got there.

People beginning to weigh in on this one: Atrios, Daily Kos, TPM. From what I gather so far, Sen. Inhofe is not insisting on offsets. Maybe he's not crazy, at least on this one. But he is crazy.

Sandy victims: not as worthy as those in the Heartland?
Update. Christian Senator Doctor Tom Colburn has his fee-fees hurt because criticism. Aaaaah... We wonder if he'll spearhead a GOP movement to slash Oklahoma disaster spending, as is his wont. Get the popcorn, this is going to be good.

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