Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Oklahoma Tornado Reignites Disaster Funding Debate

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
From left, Oklahoma Republican Reps. Lankford and Lucas watch Boehner at a news conference about the tornado. Boehner has dodged attempts by reporters to get specific answers on what the House plans to do about the disaster.

“I absolutely support the President and his commitment that we must match today’s words of sympathy with our deeds in the coming days, weeks and months. This is a time for neighbor helping neighbor. This is not the time for a ‘budgeteering’ battle,” Mikulski said.

As for King, his sympathy for Oklahomans goes deeper than his experience with Sandy.

Moore happens to be the hometown of 4th District Rep. Tom Cole, one of the Oklahoma Republicans who encouraged his colleagues to support the Sandy aid package for the East Coast.

“I’ll do whatever Tom Cole wants me to do. He had nothing personally or politically to gain, and he was really on the front lines for us on Sandy aid,” King said. “Tom Cole — and this is really tragically ironic — was the one person who actually fought for New York on the House floor, and he had nothing to gain. He did it really out of decency, and it was his district that was hit the hardest.”

During floor debate on Sandy aid, Cole had referenced one other reason to support that bill. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., is a descendant of a senator who opposed Indian removal.

“Theodore Frelinghuysen rose on the floor of the Senate to protest Indian removal, removal of my tribe from Mississippi and many other tribes to what’s now Oklahoma,” Cole said at the time. “He wasn’t successful in that fight, but he fought it nonetheless. And, frankly, it would be incredibly ungrateful for me now not to, at the time of his people’s greatest need, return the favor.”

Now King, at least, plans to return the favor.

Emma Dumain and Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

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