WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., used Saturday's Republican radio address to urge Americans to donate to relief funds for tornado victims in his state.
Inhofe said the state was pulling together to help fellow Oklahomans who were in the path of a fierce tornado that roared through the city of Moore Monday.
Inhofe said he had "seen people from all corners of the state" rushing in to help out, and urged people in other states to send financial assistance.
"Oklahoma is grieving and in pain, but the devastation such as this tends to bring us closer together as a country," he said.
Inhofe said he was in contact with federal emergency officials but he appeared to paint the relief effort as an in-state matter that would be handled by state officials.
"This daily display of neighbors helping neighbors became known as the Oklahoma Standard," Inhofe said. "After each disaster the people of Oklahoma face, the Standard is exhibited again and again."
Inhofe's reaction to the tornado was watched closely by political observers in Washington because he had been among the Republican lawmakers leading a move to block a relief-aid package for Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast, The Hill said Saturday. Inhofe and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., had insisted the money be offset by cuts to other federal programs.
Coburn this week told CNN he is not against federal help for disaster victims but opposed adding funding for projects and programs not directly related to a particular disaster. He and Inhofe said this week the Federal Emergency Management Agency has adequate resources for its mission in Moore.