June 19th, 2010
05:40 PM ET
8 years ago

Mississippi Republican slams Obama over oil spill response

Washington (CNN) - In this week's Republican internet and radio address, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, takes on the Obama administration over its response to the Gulf oil spill.

Related: Obama takes on Senate GOP's 'dreary and familiar politics'

"I’m glad President Obama is finally putting this catastrophe at the top of his agenda, but his response has been too slow," Wicker says in the address. "He was slow in listening to state and local leaders, slow in getting skimmers to the Gulf, slow in understanding the seriousness of this crisis, and slow in taking ownership and responsibility for the recovery. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction."

Update 5:40 p.m.: Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, issued the following statement about Sen. Wicker's address:

"While Democrats in Congress are working to ensure that the federal government has the adequate resources to respond to this catastrophe, Republicans in Congress are apologizing to BP and blocking legislation to strengthen the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

"We will continue to push for this legislation and ensure that BP is held responsible for this disaster and taxpayers are protected."

(Read Wicker's full remarks after the jump)

Republican Weekly Address for June 19 Delivered by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi

Hello, I am Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi.

As we enter the third month of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we continue to learn more and more disturbing information about gross negligence on the part of BP - and about some proposals from the Obama Administration that will do more harm than good.

From the Oval Office Tuesday night, President Obama attempted to recover from a widespread perception that he has not made this crisis a priority.

The public outcry about the President’s inattention has been loud and it has been bi-partisan.

I’m glad President Obama is finally putting this catastrophe at the top of his agenda, but his response has been too slow. He was slow in listening to state and local leaders, slow in getting skimmers to the Gulf, slow in understanding the seriousness of this crisis, and slow in taking ownership and responsibility for the recovery. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction.

Earlier this week the President came to the Gulf Coast. After visiting with him in Mississippi, I was optimistic that he was removing politics from this disaster and focusing solely on fixing the problem.

Republicans in Congress and at the state level looked forward to participating in a bipartisan, non-political solution to the many challenges this disaster has brought.

Unfortunately, we were disappointed. In less than a day, we were reminded of Rahm Emanuel’s theory of never letting a good crisis go to waste.

In his speech Tuesday night, President Obama made it clear that he intends to exploit this crisis to push his liberal agenda for a cap-and-tax scheme. This is a disservice not only to the victims and their families but also to the millions of Gulf Coast residents who are struggling in the wake of the spill.

Americans increasingly reject the cap-and-tax proposal because it would drive up the cost of energy and force American jobs overseas.

The President spent more than a third of his address advocating this national energy tax, revealing his true priorities. Now is not the time to push a controversial, job-killing, partisan agenda through Congress.

In addition to devastating our economy, this proposal would do nothing to fix the disastrous leak or clean up our beaches, marshes, and waters.

Another idea that takes us in the wrong direction is the Democratic plan to increase oil cleanup fees and raid those funds to pay for unrelated programs. These funds are needed to clean up spills, not to satisfy Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi’s desire to raise federal spending.

In addition, the administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling has the potential to become the third wave of this disaster. If left in place, the moratorium will permanently eliminate thousands of jobs and drive up the cost of energy for all Americans. You don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this week democratic strategist James Carville said the moratorium was [quote] “wrecking the economy” of the Gulf Coast.

Along with the spill’s devastation to our fisheries and the administration’s decision to halt our drilling, one of the greatest threats to the economy of the Gulf Coast is the loss of tourism. Our hotels and restaurants have seen business decrease by as much as 70%.

At a brief press conference on Monday, President Obama pointed out that there are a lot of beaches that are not affected and will not be affected. I was hoping the President would make this important point to the larger audience Tuesday night, but since he didn’t, I’ll say it again. The vast majority of Gulf Coast beaches are clear, beautiful and safe.

BP CEO Tony Hayward recently said he wanted his life back and later correctly apologized. BP put dollars before safety, and we are all paying the price. We have been told that BP will be held accountable and pay all damages.

But what we in the Gulf states really need is to have our way of life back. We want our jobs back, our economy back, and we need our tourists back.

So please come and visit us. You deserve a vacation, and we could use the business.

Thank you.

Filed under: Energy • GOP • Mississippi • Oil spill • Popular Posts
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Bill

    and here I always thought that the republicans say that they DO NOT want government to control everything. Which is it? I am confused?

    June 19, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. "Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction"

    really and you couldn't have put your input in in a manner earlier that would have been PART OF THE SOLUTION rather than waiting and trying to make political gain from the crisis

    He is doing a great job letting BP try to sort through, he is not rushing the process; if he had gotten involved sooner you would have claimed he was meddling and interfering and wasting tax payer money


    June 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Mickey, NY

    Republicans who have time and time again railed against the Obama administration for "Big Government" suddenly want a handout.

    The GOP has no credibility, but plenty of obstructionism.

    How about placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the party responsible for theis catastrope: B 'effing P!

    Republicans can't even do something as simple as placing blame
    where it needs to ba placed.

    I wonder just how much Big Oil contributed to Sen. Roger Wicker's coffers.

    GOP: domestic terrorists

    June 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Will in Euclid, OH

    "The President spent more than a third of his address advocating this national energy tax, revealing his true priorities."

    Makes me wonder if he was watching the same speech I was.

    June 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. hobart

    Yet another spectacular example of hypocrisy from the Party of No.

    Why is that rather than man up and take responsibility for this mess - i.e. letting the oil companies write their own regulations and not even enforce those (thanks, Dick Cheney); gutting the EPA; gutting funding for basic science - Republicans can only criticize the President no matter what he does. Republicans want to keep on deep-water offshore drilling, even while the current leak will go unplugged until August, if ever.

    >"But what we in the Gulf states really need is to have our way of life back. We want our jobs back, our economy back, and we need our tourists back."

    Thanks to Republicans, the Gulf Coast may never recover. It's you who need to take responsibility for this mess. You can't both protect the oil industry, and stand up for everyone else who lost their jobs at the same time.

    Thanks to Republican deregulation of industry, we have the collapse of Wall Street of 2008, from which we're still recovering, and now the collapse of the Gulf of Mexico.

    And what is the Republican solution? To blame it on Democrats.

    Fortunately, the American people are not that stupid.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    June 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. rob

    I'll sum up the responses from the Admin, Dems in general, and the coolaid drinkers out there:

    This guy is nothing but a racist, teabagging, Big Oil loving hater who has no right criticizing Obama so he should just SHUT UP.

    June 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. ib

    Obama is to busy trying to get his cap and scam bill through to do anything about the oil spill besides it helps him promote his so called green agenda and we all know that his agenda is more important to him than anything else.

    June 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. chris

    Again, Republicans offer no solutions, only criticism. And they offer nothinig but alot of vague, generalizations. "Obama was too slow" – He's been actively involved with the spill since day one. And how exactly would moving faster have caused any significant change?

    Listen to the Right: "Obama needs to get angry", "Obama needs to keep government out of business" "Obama needs to take charge from BP", Obama is taking over another company", "Obama needs to do more" how is any of this helpful?

    The other week the President was planing on taking an overseas trip to meet with world leaders. Pundits and politicians on the Right blasted him, saying he should cancel the trip and focus on the oil spill at home. Obama announces he's cancelling the trip so he can focus on the oil spill at home – the exact same pundits and politicians blast him for using the spill to score political points – all the while themselves using the spill to score political points for the GOP.

    June 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    If only we still had Brownie in charge.

    June 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Dan

    Typical right wing. All they do is complain. Please.

    June 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Dan

    Those now decrying Obama's reaction to the spill are the same jackasses who had no problem with George "Heckuva Job, Brownie!" Bush's reaction to Katrina, a reaction which left people in life-threatening and humiliating circumstances for weeks.

    This is just transparent political posturing that does NOTHING to help bring the country together to combat the problem. Shameless. Really, what IS his point? Oh, the 2012 election that's two years away? Great.

    June 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Jonathan

    What oil spill? Have you heard that during his Oval Office Speech he mentioned the idea of using less oil. We have a president in office that is trying to suck up more power by not sucking up the spill e.g. make BP pay and all the other oil companies pay, and make Americans pay more at the pump!

    June 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. maf

    Clearly the Republicans don't get it!!!
    Making hard decisions, for instance to get this one right and not have this kind of catastrophe happen again, is certain to cause some type of short term pain. The result though, in the long run, is for a much safer, more productive system going forward.
    President Obama is being unfairly criticized for making the tough decisions.
    The Party of NO continues to harp on this administration's lack of leadership in this horrible "leak". They would much rather continue with their drilling, "damn the torpedos" mentality!

    I can't wait for how this plays out in November and again in 2012!
    The Republicans may find themselves without a party with which to spread the sorry, old talking points of this cycle. They sure are sounding whiny and hollow!

    June 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. WHAT

    He wouldn't approve of Obama's action if Obama dived down and plug the hole himself, typical Republican response.

    June 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Ken, AZ

    And, this Senator is just plain mentally slow.

    June 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. ray

    these people on the right should all be infront of a firing squad, this president will always be trashed by these racists on the right because of the simple reason which they do not want to accept , because he is BLACK.

    June 19, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. MR

    What grandstanding!! It isn't the Presidents responsibility to "take charge" of everything....and I'm sorry but I don't think the republicans get to decide what this administration does and doesn't do. Isn't that what you republicans have been calling socialism? Under any other circumstances they'd be screaming it was another example of govenment overreach in this administration.

    June 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. joe m

    give him a break, he's watching a baseball game. he has a part-time guy working on the problem. and he's busy making sure that ecuador knows that his administration is suing AZ. he's got a lot on his plate. what do you want him to do, actually take charge and put his full effort on this matter? what good will that do him? the worse this gets the stronger his case will be to push cap and trade. fixing the problem quickly will waste a good crisis.

    June 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. D. Pasha

    The Republican policy, as always, is to privatize the nation's wealth and nationalize the corporatocracies' liabilities. For further information, see "plutonomism", "Comcastration", and "parvicide" (the targeted destruction of "the small people")

    June 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. GI Joe

    So, what's new?

    The nutjobs want zero government, and then whine and cry when the government doesn't respond the way THEY want.

    There are 50 states, 2 wars (1 illegal), the entire world - grow up GObP.

    June 19, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm sick of hearing Republicans "slam" the President over his response. BP is a company, not a government entity. I've read stupid things like nuke the well (sure, let's ignite the methane, why don't we), send a sub down (how idiots, it's too deep), send ships in to suck up the oil. We don't have this equipment. The oil companies do.

    Then the President secures a $20 Billion escrow fund, and gets attacked for it. Good Grief! BP agreed to this, people. They are going to owe, in addition, up to $4300 per barrel lost in the Gulf. They not only owe, they own this. They cut corners to save money. What part of this is not understandable to even a 5th grader?

    Leave it to Republicans to want it both ways. Government has to stay out of big business until they want government to be involved in big business. Then they still come out on the side of big business. These are the people we send to DC to represent us. And most of them can't even drum up a pretense of common decency.

    June 19, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. GI Joe

    I wouldn't visit that GObP state if my life depended on it. Too many robes and hoods, and just absolute total ignorance.

    June 19, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Discernment


    For 8-years Bush/Cheney Whitehouse took $millions from oil and coal industry to "shred drilling & mining regulations" while Republican-GOP said and did nothing.

    Bush/Cheney left the MMS, EPA, and other protective agencies spineless and ineffective, thereby leading to this BP catastrophe. Now the Republican Hypocrites want to ignore their 8-year shortcomings, and blame President Obama who just secured $20,000,000,000.00 (Billion) for impacted Gulf State citizens.

    June 19, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. Sue

    I have been sendng every Republican politician--and every newspaper in the Gulf area.......a copy of an article by the Houston Chronicle.

    The Houston Chronicle article proves that just 3 days after the explosion, the Dutch-–as well as many other countries-–offered to send boats, skimmers, berms, technology, equipment--to stop the disaster of the oil flow. They had boats/equipment that would have sucked up the majority of the oil, filtered it, and then released the clean water back into the Gulf.

    However, Obama REFUSED to take this help-–due to the unions/union workers-–and also because he wanted this spill to get as bad as possible, so that he could try to push his climate bill legislation.

    Obama and his Admin are trying to claim that it was beause of the Jones Act that these foreign countries/ships were not allowed to help. However, after Katrina--Bush IMMEDIATELY waived the Jones Act, so that foreign countries/ships could help us with the damage/destruction of Katrina.

    I am going to continue to send the Houston Chronicle article to as many politicians, newspapers, news stations throughout the country--so that more and more people become aware of the incompetency of Obama and his administration.

    June 19, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. tony

    The Republican response to the oil spill is to call for a continuation of drilling and a cap on liability for oil companies. Have they heard of the phrase "when you are in a hole, stop digging"? Should they apologize to the American people for apologizing to British Petroleum after it caused the greatest oil spill in history, destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of people along the Gulf Coast?

    June 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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