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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

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a letter to House leaders on Monday urging swift action on federal aid for Hurricane Sandy relief, but Oklahoma's two newest House members already have shown their reluctance to provide money to the stricken area without cuts to spending elsewhere.

Fallin, a Republican and the vice chairman of the National Governors Association, cosigned a letter with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat and the chairman of the association, saying that, “Providing disaster relief is not and never should be a political issue.

“While state and federal governments are working tirelessly to respond and recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, federal assistance is necessary to provide both immediate and long term assistance to get states, communities and citizens back on their feet.”

The letter was sent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, on behalf of the nation's governors.

The House is expected to begin consideration Tuesday of legislation that would provide up to $50 billion in federal aid for the northeastern states hit hard by the storm in October; that's in addition to nearly $10 billion approved earlier this month for the national flood insurance program.

Oklahoma's two freshman House members, Republican Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Jim Bridenstine, voted against the bill two weeks ago to allow federal officials to borrow more money to pay flood insurance claims related to Sandy.

In all, 67 Republicans voted against that bill, which passed easily.

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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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