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Gov. Mary Fallin urges swift approval of federal aid to Hurricane Sandy victims

In a letter, the Republican governor says disaster aid isn't a political issue, but two freshman members from Oklahoma may be looking for offsetting budget cuts.
by Chris Casteel Modified: January 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013

Mullin and Bridenstine argued that the increased borrowing authority should have been offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget.

“While the Obama administration has argued that emergency spending should be exempt from offsets, we cannot continue to spend money that doesn't exist,” Bridenstine said about the bill.

90 amendments added

A spokeswoman for Bridenstine declined to say Monday whether the lawmaker would vote for additional aid that is not offset with other cuts. She noted that more than 90 amendments had been offered on the bill to be taken up Tuesday.

Some of the amendments would cut spending at other agencies to offset the federal disaster assistance.

The governors' letter says it has been 70 days since the nation's second-worst natural disaster hit the East Coast.

“Further delays in action will only extend the recovery time for the more than 17.5 million people impacted by the storm,” the letter states.

The White House released a statement Monday saying, “Given the emergency and one-time nature of this supplemental appropriation, and in keeping with the response to Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon, and other disasters, the administration believes that all funding in the bill should be designated as an emergency requirement and not be offset.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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