CQ Roll Call reporter Jennifer Scholtes wrote for CQ.com Monday evening that Coburn said he would “absolutely” demand offsets for any federal aid that Congress provides.
Coburn added, Scholtes wrote, that it is too early to guess at a damage toll but that he knows for certain he will fight to make sure disaster funding that the federal government contributes is paid for. It’s a position he has taken repeatedly during his career when Congress debates emergency funding for disaster aid.
At least he's consistent. He was one of 36 senators to vote against Sandy relief, and both he and his Oklahoma colleague, Jim Inhofe, supported an amendment that would have slashed the $60 billion Sandy relief to just $23 billion. Coburn said Sandy relief was "wasteful spending," and his buddy Inhofe called it a "slush fund." He's changing his tune on disaster relief, though, now that it's his state.
Inhofe apparently won't go along with Coburn on this one, and he's not the only one. The sheer scope of the destruction Monday appears to have shaken some sense into House Republicans. Speaker John Boehner told reporters: "We’ll work with the administration to make sure they have the resources they need." Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers added:
On this one, Coburn might be on his own, and might not be able to get 39 other Republicans on his side to block a disaster relief bill in the Senate. It's too early to know what the need is going to be in Oklahoma, but the pricetag for tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri two years ago was more than $200 million.