WASHINGTON - Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) said on Tuesday that federal aid to tornado-ravaged parts of his home state will be "totally different" than a Hurricane Sandy aid bill he voted against late last year.
Speaking on MSNBC, the lawmaker said that in the case of Hurricane Sandy, "everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place." However, he said, "that won't happen in Oklahoma."
President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he has already signed a federal disaster declaration for parts of Oklahoma, where tornadoes have caused dozens of fatalities and flattened entire communities.
Inhofe said the Sandy Relief bill "was supposed to be in New Jersey," but "they were getting things … in the Virgin Islands, fixing roads there, and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C." Both Inhofe and Coburn voted to slash aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, with Inhofe saying he considered the full proposed aid amount to be a "slush fund."
While Northeastern states like New Jersey and New York suffered some of the worst damage from Hurricane Sandy, the storm affected 24 U.S. states in total during October of 2012. Sandy carved a destructive path from the Caribbean Sea to the Great Lakes, where it produced 25-foot waves in Lake Huron.
Hurricane Sandy is believed to have cost more than $50 billion, making it the second-costliest storm in U.S. history.
While it's too early to estimate what the damage from the Oklahoma tornadoes might cost, in 1999 the state requested and received more than $67 million after a series of tornadoes.
On Monday night, a spokesman for the state's other senator, Republican Tom Coburn, said Coburn would demand that tornado relief funds for Oklahoma be offset by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, a position consistent with what he has said in the past, even when the aid was for his home state.
A spokesman for Inhofe declined to comment for this story, and declined to say whether Inhofe will also push for offsets like Coburn.
Also on HuffPost:
President Barack Obama
White House official: <blockquote>The Administration, through FEMA, is closely monitoring the storm. The President has been notified by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and is receiving updates from his team as information comes in from the ground. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has spoken with Governor Mary Fallin to make sure there are no unmet needs and to make clear that at the President’s direction the Administration and FEMA stand ready to provide all available assistance in response to the severe weather. The Administration continues to urge all those in affected or potentially affected areas to follow the direction of state and local officials as this severe weather continues.</blockquote>
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who was raised in Moore, Okla., addressed the tornado damage in an interview with CNN: <blockquote> It's my hometown … I can literally recognize the homes and the businesses. It's early to know, never helpful to speculate about this. Fortunately the warning system is very good. The national severe storm laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma -- they do an unbelievable job. People take these things seriously. This is in Moore, Oklahoma, where I lived for 15 years … just looking what I could judge from the photographs and the film, it may be worse than the one in '99, which took out 6,000 houses, killed 37 people. So we're talking about extraordinary damage, and when something like that happens, even with the best warning and people heeding it, and they do take it seriously, there's always the potential if you got a direct hit for something really deadly." </blockquote>
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D)
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
Former Vice President Al Gore
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R)
Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.)