Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 14, 2013

Another View: Holding disaster victims hostage

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Sen. Tom Coburn has been consistent in his message. He says he won’t support any additional disaster relief funding without spending cuts elsewhere.

Even in his own state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is reeling after a recent deadly tornado, but Coburn is digging in his heels and saying he won’t change his position.

Other Republicans, including Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, say spending cuts shouldn’t be a precondition to disaster aid. We agree. We can only imagine where Joplin would be without the federal aid we have received since May 22, 2011.

Coburn’s kind of thinking holds his own state hostage at the time when it needs federal disaster aid.

Finding spending cuts is necessary, and it’s part of our lawmakers’ jobs. But using them as a stick to beat taxpayers in dire need of resources is wrong.

The EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on May 20 cost 24 lives. It destroyed homes and businesses. It will be costly for the town to rebuild. Fortunately, it appears that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has the money in its coffers.

So for Coburn to even suggest that cuts have to be made before his state will accept the federal funds is absurd.

In addition to cleanup and recovery, federal disaster dollars can be used to help rebuild the two elementary schools in Moore that were destroyed. Seven children died in one of those schools. Neither had safe rooms.

Good legislators are those who seek solutions and find ways to help the people they represent.

Coburn says he won’t be running for re-election in 2016. But that doesn’t mean his job is over.

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe