Making ‘Cents’ of Tom Coburn and Disaster Aid
The Oklahoma tornado disaster has killed at least 24 people, left hundreds injured and caused millions of dollars in damage. But that has not stopped a senator from that same state from declaring that he will not approve federal aid for victims of the disaster unless the spending can be offset with cuts.
The tornado damage near Oklahoma City is still being assessed and the death toll is expected to rise, but already Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says he will insist that any federal disaster aid be paid for with cuts elsewhere.
CQ Roll Call reporter Jennifer Scholtes wrote for CQ.com 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.
Okay, let’s see if we can help Sen. Coburn and others who object to disaster relief spending without offsets find the cuts they want.
The most over-funded military in the world will purchase 2,443 F-35s at a cost of $138 million apiece.
The government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.51 trillion over the next 50-plus years…The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades, although Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week warned that further technical problems or cost increases could eat away at those numbers.
Purchase 7 fewer planes and that leaves about a billion dollars in the budget to spend elsewhere. In Oklahoma maybe? Probably not. For many in Congress, making defense contractors rich takes priority over victims of natural disaster.