Anti-Sandy-relief GOP Oklahoma Senator: Aid for my state is “totally different” than Sandy

Far-right US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) tried to explain today why it’s consistent for him to oppose the federal government paying for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief in New England, but why the government should pay for tornado disaster relief in Oklahoma.

After all, New Englanders don’t vote in Oklahoma.

No, Inhofe didn’t actually say that.  He tried to argue that Hurricane Sandy relief was all pork, which it wasn’t.

Senator-Inhofe

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Inhofe claimed that Sandy relief contained money for the Virgin Islands and to repair the roofs of homes in Washington, DC.

In fact, the Sandy relief bill contained money to repair the roofs of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

As for the Virgin Islands, the bill did permit some of the federal highway funds in the bill to be diverted to the Virgin Islands.  But that’s about it.  The “pork” in the bill was pretty small, by all accounts.  But Inhofe still voted against it.

The Atlantic walks us through more of the supposed “pork” in the bill that conservatives were complaining about:

  • $150 million for fisheries in Alaska damaged by the 2011 Japanese tsunami,which littered debris on Alaska’s shoreline
  • $41 million to repair military bases damaged by Hurricane Sandy (including ,controversially, Guantanamo Bay)
  • $13 billion for future flood preparations (that is, money that will not be spent on victims of Sandy but on preventing future, Sandy-scale disasters from occurring)

So those are all disaster relief, and disaster-related.  One, the Alaskan one, is for a past disaster that wasn’t addressed, and should have been.  So that’s not pork.  The National Review has more of the GOP argument against the bill, but to call any of what they write about “pork” is simply bs.  The closest they get to park is money preparing for the next disaster.  How is that pork in a disaster bill?

What’s going on here is that Inhofe realizes that when you’re the Senator from a state with a disaster, you really don’t have a choice but to get a disaster relief bill passed.  So he’ll do anything to differentiate his cold-heartedness towards Sandy victims with his new warmth towards tornado victims.

Oklahoma’s other stingy Republican Senator, Tom Coburn, is also in a bit of a pickle over tornado relief.  Coburn has already said that any tornado relief bill must include cuts in the rest of the budget to pay for it, or he won’t support it.  In other words, Coburn is taking Oklahoma tornado victims as human shields in the GOP’s endless war on the budget (well, endless war on everything but tax cuts for the rich and defense spending).

The only difference is that the tornado victims vote in Oklahoma.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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