Daily Show Expose: Eric Cantor wants to cut other federal spending to justify financial assistance to tornado victims in Missouri. (4:59):
Tom Coburn's Tornado Shelter Deceptions - First Read Carefully What Happened
Before Deadly Tornado Hit, Oklahoma Senators Worked To Undermine Disaster Relief
Oklahoma residents will now turn to government assistance for emergency disaster aid after a tornado ripped through the state on Monday, leaving dozens dead and tearing apart hundreds of buildings. But the same night that many residents lost their homes, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told CQ Roll Call insisted he would “absolutely” require any federal disaster aid to be offset by other budget cuts. He later clarified on Tuesday, promising, “I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
Both of the state’s senators, Sen. James Inhofe (R) and Coburn, however, have long worked to undermine the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even though their state heavily relies on disaster aid:
– In September 2011, Coburn offered an amendment to offset $6.9 billion in FEMA funding.
– Coburn voted in 2011 against funding FEMA after it ran out of money, because, in his words, funding FEMA would have been “unconscionable.” Inhofe did not vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired back at Republicans blocking a bill for necessary funding to FEMA.
– Inhofe proposed removing grants for storm shelter programs coordinating with FEMA, and instead provide individuals with tax breaks.
– Coburn criticized items in Sandy disaster relief such as $12.9 billion for disaster mitigiation and $366 million for Amtrak as “wasteful spending.”
– After Hurricane Sandy, Inhofe and Coburn voted against a bill for $50.5 billion in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief.
– Coburn demanded that $5.25 billion in FEMA grant funds be reallocated because of sequestration in April 2013.
Twenty of the 51 confirmed deaths were children, the Oklahoma medical examiner said, and at least 45 of the 230 people injured were children, according to area hospitals. It was the deadliest U.S. tornado since one killed 161 people in Joplin, Missouri, two years ago.
Witnesses said Monday's tornado appeared more fierce than the giant twister that was among the dozens that tore up the area on May 3, 1999, killing more than 40 people and destroying thousands of homes. That tornado ranked as an EF5, meaning it had winds over 200 mph.
The 1999 event in Oklahoma ranks as the third-costliest tornado in U.S. history, having caused more than $1 billion in damage at the time, or more than $1.3 billion in today's dollars. Only the devastating Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes in 2011 were more costly.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center provided the town with a warning 16 minutes before the tornado touched down at 3:01 p.m. local time (2001 GMT), which is greater than the average eight to 10 minutes of warning, said Keli Pirtle, a spokeswoman for the center in Norman, Oklahoma.
The notice was upgraded to emergency warning with "heightened language" at 2:56 p.m., or five minutes before the tornado touched down, Pirtle said.
"It's just typical Washington B.S.," Coburn said during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "There's $11.6 billion sitting in a bank account waiting to help people in Oklahoma ... It's a crass political game because I was being asked these questions before we even pulled the dead people out of the rubble."
Coburn, one of the most fiscally conservative lawmakers in Congress, is right about $11.6 billion being available. But it's not because he had anything to do with it. Congress approved $18.5 billion for disaster relief for 2013, with most of those funds -- $11.5 billion -- approved after Hurricane Sandy. Coburn vocally opposed both packages, but lawmakers decided then none of that emergency aid should be subject to offsets. The amount of money left in that fund is at about $11.6 billion, which means it can be pulled to respond to the Oklahoma storm -- without offsets.
Coburn then went on in the MSNBC interview to suggest that "most of the property damage" from the tornadoes was "insured." The senator claimed it would "be a 200, 250, maybe 300 million dollar cost to the federal government out of the FEMA fund" and accused Washington of "creating a crisis when none exists so they can advantage themselves."
The tornado that struck Moore, Okla., this week, killing at least 24, is estimated to have left more than $2 billion of damage in its path.
When asked if he thought the government should take steps to mandate tornado shelters in the aftermath of the storm, Coburn rejected the idea by using a classic statistical fallacy.
"If you're living in that area of Moore in Oklahoma, the likelihood of being hit by another tornado is about zero in terms of odds," he said.
MSNBC's Brian Shactman attempted to correct Coburn, but the senator dug in.
"The odds weren't the same, that's completely wrong," he said. "If you've had two tornadoes in 14 years, and then you're saying the odds of that is the same going forward, that's not right at all. You need to check your statistics class."
At 40 seconds: Coburm says that "nobody knows" if a shelter could have helped as some shelters fell in the tornado. (My Response: Really? There is no way to make a tornado shelter to save kids from a tornado? This is 2015 right? Or are you talking about 1715?)
'These decision need to be made at the local and State level' Tom Coburn i.e.
At 1 min: 'We got to do whatever we goty to do to prevent this result' Coburn - (My response: Why didn't he feel that way after the first f5 tornado 14 years ago? Because he thought he could get away with it?)
Note that he put 200 shelters in Oklahoma schools but not where the last F5 tornado hit ... and 200 shelters in 10 years in "tornado alley"... need I say more?)
Then he just starts blatantly lying.
At 2 mins he says 'Oklahoman's aren't stupid, they'll deal with this problem' i.e. he's using a compliment to deflect attention from the fact that it was his job to do something about it? Or is it non-elected officials jobs to protect citizens or kids in school? Which one is it?
It doesn't matter what Tom Coburn says about Federal Law because of his nonsensical economics. I would like to call out all "conservative economists" to reject conservatism or economics ... as you can't have a science coupled witha religious belief already proven wrong.