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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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