Dem lawmaker bashes Obama for response to Ohio tornado damage

A veteran Democratic lawmaker bashed President Barack Obama for being "noncommittal" in extending disaster relief to tornado-stricken northwest Ohio.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had been a disappointment in its decision to deny aid to areas hurt by tornadoes in early June.

"They've disappointed us in Katrina, they've disappointed us here, they disappointed us so many places in our country," Kaptur told a local ABC affiliate in Toledo.

She jabbed Obama in particular for having seemingly brushed off her and other Ohio lawmakers' requests for FEMA's help to deal with the fallout from the tornadoes, which destroyed a number of high schools across two congressional districts, including a major high school.

"He was very noncommittal," Kaptur said of her plea to Obama. "And I said, 'Mr. President, we need quick action here. We need your help.' "

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), whose district was also severely affected by the tornadoes, have also worked to appeal the FEMA decision in a letter to Obama.

Kaptur said that rules about the severity of the different districts being affected led FEMA to deny aid to some hard-hit areas.

"The rules made no sense to me," she protested.

The fifth most senior member of the powerful Appropriations panel said she'd try to get relief funds for northwest Ohio through her committee if she had to.

"We're trying to transfer money from other categories to bring it here. We'll see if I'll be successful," she said. "The problem is you're fighting 434 other congressional districts when you try to do that. But they didn't have this damage. We did."

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