Target: Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn
Goal: Condemn Senator Coburn’s insistence of offsetting any aid to tornado victims with budget cuts.
Recently, a massive tornado tore through the state of Oklahoma, utterly devastating the suburban town of Moore. The scale-topping EF5 twister wreaked about $2 billion worth of damage, leaving in its wake more at least 24 people dead and more than 12,000 homes and buildings destroyed. In light of this tragedy, Congress has begun scrambling to patch together an aid package for the victims of the tornado, but has run up against the stalwart opposition of the Republican senator whose own state is reeling: Tom Coburn.
Senator Coburn, an inveterate fiscal conservative, has made clear that he thinks his constituents in and around Moore can fend for themselves. In statements made on MSNBC, Coburn claimed that Congress was ‘creating a crisis when none exists so they can advantage themselves’; he also expressed confidence that the victims of the tornado will be fine with their own private home insurance. Going further, the senator has stated that he will only support disaster aid to his state if the funds are offset with federal budget cuts beforehand.
As the dust is still settling on the ruined homes and shattered psyches of thousands of his constituents, Senator Coburn is attempting to hold hostage any government aid to the tornado’s victims to cynically serve his own political goals. With 24 confirmed dead and dozens more missing, Coburn insists that any aid must be offset with budget cuts in so-called ‘lower priority areas.’ Given the ideology and recent actions of both Coburn and many in his party, we can be sure that these ‘lower priority areas’ of the budget will prominently feature Medicaid, food stamps, and other crucial aid to the poor and vulnerable. Please sign the petition below to denounce Coburn’s politicizing and exploitation of this tragedy, and to demand that he stop standing in the way of much-needed aid to thousands in his state who have lost so much.
Dear Senator Coburn:
Thousands of the citizens of your state are suffering from a natural disaster for which they bear no responsibility. At least 24 have died, hundreds have been injured, and thousands have lost their homes or public buildings. Not only have you expressed a distressing lack of compassion for the people you purport to represent, but you have put their needs behind your own political agenda of cutting the budget and reducing government spending, at any and all cost.
You were elected to serve the interests of the people of Oklahoma. Whatever the merits of your political goals, a time of suffering and despair for so many is not the time to advance them. Abandon your insistence upon offsetting any disaster aid with budget cuts and support an aid package to the tornado victims in your state.
[Your Name Here]