Rep. Cole: No ‘funding fights’ over tornado aid

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Wednesday he had no interest in another funding fight in Congress over federal aid to the city of Moore, Okla., and other areas affected by the tornado that devastated the small town.

Speaking on CBS’s "This Morning," Cole, who once lived and worked in Moore, said he was certain there would be a federal “component” to disaster relief efforts, but that it was better to first “wait and see the extent of the damage” to determine if congressional legislation of the kind passed after Hurricane Sandy was necessary.

“I don’t want to spend a lot of time on funding fights here. I voted for Hurricane Sandy relief,” Cole said. 

“There’s always better ways maybe to do things, but once the disaster happens — particularly the people on the ground need to know they’re going to get help. If we can do that in a prudent way, then I want to do that, but at the end of the day my objective here is to make sure the people here get the help they need in a timely fashion.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has already said any federal aid package for Moore should include spending cuts elsewhere. Coburn has opposed disaster aid bills in the past, including the last year’s Hurricane Sandy aid package.

The vote on the Sandy bill came at a tough time for the GOP conference, which was still reeling from the passage of a “fiscal-cliff” bill that didn’t contain spending cuts. Some Republicans were upset over what they say was a bill larded with costs that were unrelated to Sandy relief efforts.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who also opposed the Sandy relief package, said Tuesday discussions about funding for the Sandy and Moore natural disasters were “totally different” because the Sandy aid was packed with frivolous spending.