Coburn: ‘Legitimate’ Role for FEMA in Response to Oklahoma Tornadoes

“We ought to live within our budget,” said  Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.. “We ought to live within our budget,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said Tuesday that “there’s a legitimate role” for the federal government in the response to the tornadoes near Oklahoma City that have devastated the town of Moore, where at least 24 people have died.

Coburn, who opposed the Superstorm Sandy relief package, as well as a 2011 disaster relief package to fund Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Government Executive that “where [FEMA] can add resources that supplement those that are ongoing in Oklahoma, they should.”

“They have some expertise that most states can’t afford to have, and they’re applying that expertise—whether it be search and rescue dogs or mortuary help,” said Coburn. “They have a long line of things—so there’s a legitimate role. What we have to see is what’s the total damage outside the lives that are impacted, how much is covered by insurance and how much help does Oklahoma need.”

Coburn maintained that any additional funding of disaster relief to benefit Oklahoma should be offset with budget cuts elsewhere.

“We ought to live within our budget,” said Coburn.  “And that applies to Oklahoma. Remember, the Oklahoma City Bombing—we offset that. The real question . . . is should the people of Moore—ultimately children—have to pay interest on money that we’ve borrowed when we’re wasting $200 billion a year?”

“There’s plenty of waste in the federal government,” said Coburn. “Something has to give if we’re going to help Oklahoma—but we don’t know what that bill is going to be yet.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.