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Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK
Sen. Tom Coburn, ghoul
The dust in Moore, Oklahoma had barely settled, the search and rescue operations still active, on Monday evening when Sen. Tom Coburn declared that his own state will only get aid if money is taken from someone else.
CQ Roll Call reporter Jennifer Scholtes wrote for 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.

Sen. Inhofe to @JansingCo: his labeling of Hurricane Sandy bill as a "slush fund" is "totally different" than Okla tornado relief.
@kasie via Twitter for iPhone

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:

Approps Chair Rogers on OK disaster $: "don't think disasters of this type should be offset. We have an obilgation to help these people"
@deirdrewalshcnn via TweetDeck

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.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 21, 2013 at 08:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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