May 9th, 2011
05:51 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - The White House has declared a disaster in 26 states so far this year, and the Lone Star State’s U.S. senators are miffed that Texas isn’t one of them.
GOP Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison teamed up last week and sent President Obama a letter inviting him to tour the state’s extensive wildfire damage when he visits El Paso Tuesday to talk immigration.
Their goal: convince Obama to change his mind and declare a disaster in Texas, in order to secure federal funds through FEMA.
“We are hopeful that after seeing this devastation first hand, you will reconsider your recent denial,” the senators wrote to Obama.
Senator Cornyn even held a conference call with Texas reporters, scolding Obama for holding fundraising events in the state while treating the state unfairly.
“Texas has not been a place that has received equal and fair-handed treatment with other places around the country. It seems like a lot of politics are in the calculations. It seems like Texas has been treated negatively,” the Houston Chronicle reported Cornyn said on the call.
Some are speculating the Obama Administration is withholding funds as retribution against Republican Governor Rick Perry, for his blustery hints that the state might secede from the nation during the fight for health care reform.
But a FEMA spokeswoman assured the San Antonio Express-News that the administration has “already approved 25 fire management assistance grants in recent to help cover expenses for these emergency response efforts, including 19 grants in April.”
According to FEMA’s website, Texas tops the list of states receiving disaster funds, with 84 declarations since 1953.
The last one issued to the state was by President Obama, for damages the state sustained from Hurricane Alex just last year.