by Katie Glueck
New York Rep. Peter King on Tuesday said he's willing to overlook the "hypocrisy" of lawmakers who opposed aid for his state in the wake of Superstorm Sandy but might support funding for tornado-stricken Oklahoma.
"I think there's a lot of hypocrisy involved here, [Sen. James] Inhofe saying Sandy aid was corrupt but Oklahoma won't be," King (R-N.Y.) told POLITICO. "But I don't want to hold the people of Oklahoma responsible for what elected officials are saying, for the husband and wife without a home, for the people who lost all their worldly possessions."
King, who stressed that he wasn't looking for a fight, emphasized that aid should be provided to Oklahoma -- which sustained a deadly tornado on Monday -- without the requirement of budgetary offsets.
"I've always believed that but certainly, going through it myself [during Sandy], seeing the devastation a national disaster brings to a district it's a [national issue], not a local issue, like Sandy wasn't a New York, New Jersey issue," he said. "It's an American issue, we have an obligation to come forward."
Inhofe (R-Okla.), for his part, said on MSNBC on Tuesday that he had wanted reduced Sandy aid because "everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy taking place" by adding funding for unrelated projects to the measure, but said "that won't happen in Oklahoma." Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) indicated early on Tuesday that he would support offsets for Oklahoma aid.
King was a vocal critic of those in his own party who didn't back full Sandy funding.
"I won't hold it against anyone," King said of lawmakers who opposed Sandy aid but could support Oklahoma help without offsets. "I don't want suffering people in Oklahoma to be held hostage while we engage in political fights, saying "I told you so.' I want to deal with it on the merits."