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. Jon P

    Message to the Right: I thought you are all for LESS government??

    Getting rid of the EPA, FEMA and other vital government agencies...

    Well here ya go– by your own claims- Obama is doing nothing –so you get a good insite to what will happen without federal help– better get used to it–you asked for it....

    You are getting your wish--Bring on the tea party and less government!!

    Talking out of both sides of your mouth again– so which is it???

    June 19, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |

    These comments are a bunch of "Political B.S.". It wasn't the governments responsibilty to initially take care of the spill but rather BP! Once again, let us remember that it was the Bush/Cheney Administration that allowed the Big Oil Companies to be self regulated and the placement of many Haliburton people into MMS.
    There are still too many politicians (both Repubs and Dems) who are in the Hip Pockets of the Oil Industry. This kind of B.S. has got to stop!

    June 19, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. snow

    Slowness if nobummers name. He still has not worked on jobs except for government jobs which are the only jobs that have been created under his administration. When the census temporary part time jobs expire in July the unemployment figures will go over 10 percent and the real unemployment numbers will be closer to 18 percent. The only thing this bum is good for is placing blame on others for his incompetence and stupidity.

    June 19, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Karl in SLC

    Roger Wicker is an idiot. Since when is our government in the oil clean up business?

    HW Bush didn't do crap during the Valdez spill, never even visited the spill area.

    Republicans are nothing but whiny babies.....acting like children.

    June 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. 8 years of the Bush Error = How many years of recession and unemployment?

    Yes, any rant to deflect from the fact Palin is for Big Oil along with the smegma of mankind, Barton and his "shakedown" apology to BP or Knotthead Jake that thinks the President is a "raghead" or the '99'ers" and their families which you republikkkans just tossed under the bus by preventing unemployment benefit extensions, all while you complain of high unemployment out of the other side of your hypocritical pie holes, the 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors you sanction, or the 24 billion cuts to state and local governments which your current Senate filibuster sanctions that will relate to not just teacher layoffs, but police and firefighters as well.

    No, just focus on how that big, bad "socialist thug from Chicago" who just secured 20 billion dollars for the folks of the Gulf Coast and is 20 billion less the taxpayers of "my" country will have to pay out to clean up the private industry mess by Big Oil that has bought and paid for you and your republiklan Taliban facists.

    Exactly what have YOU republikkkans done for the average citizen of this country lately?

    June 19, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Tom Moore

    Wow so you are the representative for the people of your state and you have not done a damn thing as a matter of fact your answer to every problem is to blame it on Washington. Fool you are Washington, The Government, the people of Mississippi want you to come up with more answers than ..It's Obama's fault... get your hand out of your anus and put your thinking hat on and come up with some ideas or get back out in the general public with the rest of the population

    June 19, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. carlos

    and you freaking sick, repulsive, repugnant CONServatives, what have you done for this beautiful country?????..absolutely NOTHING,getting paid by us the taxpayers to do NOTHING, well, you will find out come election time, your party will be done for GOOD

    June 19, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Calvin H. Johnson

    I cannot believe how the Republicans can slam the president on this one. I think you guys are really confused. The president is doing all he can to help in this disaster and his response has been much more than Bush's Katrina response. What else could the president have done but let the private company try to handle this, then step in when that didn't work. The Republicans want it both ways. One Republican representative even said last week that the president's response was a "shake-down" of BP. Maybe you folks should get together and decide who is the smartest one of you in the room. Good grief.

    June 19, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. p

    This from a guy in the party of nimrods that are still apologizing to BP for having to pay for any damages at all – to his own suffering citizens!
    Since everything is politics for them, who could have possibly decided that defended a foreign national company over people who's lives have been ruined by it, could be a smart political move?
    Republicans – the party of Joe Barton!

    June 19, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. President Obama's "porkulus" package is bringing home the bacon!

    It is the job of the President to look out for the ENTIRE country and not just 4 states.

    If the oil gets to the Atlantic coast this will be much worse.

    Therefore, the majority of the country gets priority over the minority losing their jobs. Instead of complaining be thankful that BP is picking up some of the slack. Imagine the position you would be in if they did not offer to pay claims for loss of income.

    And none of this should be new, there have been rigs in the Gulf for the last 59 years that I know of, so, all the Gulf gripers KNEW this has always been a possibility and it would impact the jobs of fishermen and the Gulf Coast tourist trade, but you took the chance to get the drilling jobs.

    This should be no surprise to any Gulf coast dweller, so the endless whining about helping ME is becoming tiresome.

    Stop waiting for more Coast Guard to clean up, get out volunteer and again, be thankful that BP is paying locals to do the clean up, after all it is YOUR living space. Send out a clarion call to all the "tea baggers" to donate their white sheets to toss in and absorb the oil, that would help greatly, call it a "boom for bigotry".

    If you do not like the consequences of living on the coast with oil rigs a mile out, and hurricanes(Audrey almost got me in 1957) then do what this native LA did, MOVE.

    Oh, and next time Republicanss let's Big Oil develop the regulations, maybe you should reflect on the past 2 months BEFORE pulling the republiKKKan voting lever, as they are the ones that allowed this catastrophe to occur.

    June 19, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. jbone

    we, as a people need to fire all of u dummy'sin dc, you guys dont care about the small town all you care about is your self and your job in congress, we as a people need to change the amount of time you jackass stay in office 8 years then you have to stay out of poilitics for 6 years would be great ..... no pay would be great for all of you dummys rep and dem r crooks

    June 19, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. mary

    The Republican politicians are so desparate, greedy, ignorant, politicized, arrogant, wrong, self-serving. They don't and never did give a damn about the people impacted by the oil mess, about the long term consequences of their lack of oversight, safety, and protective regulation over the last decade. They only care about the next election and the power to cater to their money interests. How can anyone with half a brain in this great country ever believe a word they say. Why don't they just give up with the hate politics and be a loyal opposition that actually cares about the state of the nation, and helps
    GOVERN the country, not stalemate it.. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. They have no solutions, only bashing everything this administration does for potential political power grabbing.

    June 19, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. unshrub

    The republicans need to figure out what they want. One day Obama is to aggressive, and the next day he isn't aggressive enough.

    June 19, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Get With The Program

    stop politicizing and polarizing. we as a nation are sick and tired of it!

    June 19, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Hall for Obama

    If he was that slow why didn't you go in the right direction no one would have know the diffent dumb butt. He could have went to hell and back before you would have known he was there, you are to slow telling him he was to slow. How come it took you so long to tell him he is to slow. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction. Senator Roger Wicker where have your agenda been you have a job to do also why have you just come out to complaint. How come you have not been on TV ask for help up to this point, it not because maybe Obama look a little like he is getting something done and you and the rest of the GOP can't stop it. Go get your self a life if you can't help the cause please don't do any thing to hurt it. I never heard so much bitching and complinting in my whole life. If God came and took Obama back with him I would like to know what you GOP would complaint about then. Just as this is President Obama responsibility for the recovery your as a Senator have a responsibility also.

    June 19, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Discernment


    Due to BP's oil catastrophe which directly relates to Bush/Cheney 8-year shredding of previously effective oil drilling and environmental regulations, President Obama has since:

    (a.) – terminated oil company tax breaks (aka corporate welfare);
    (b.) – implemented a 6-month (temporary) moratorium on offshore oil drilling until experts can confirmed what caused the BP explosion that killed 11 and destroyed the Gulf;
    (c.) – secured $20,000,000,000.00 (Billion) for thousands of Gulf States citizens and small businesses impacted by BP disasters;
    (d.) – secured $100,000,000.00 (Million) for out-of-work oil-riggers;
    (e.) – pressed BP to terminate it stock dividend give-away so that it can handle its responsibilities to the Gulf Sates citizens;
    (f.) – removed BP from the claims process because they have a conflict of interest and will drag the process;
    (g.) – forced BP to apologize from the Whitehouse to Gulf State citizens.


    (1.) – Tried to get federal government to pick up the BP clean-up tab,
    (2.) – apologized to BP because President Obama held BP accountable for the pain they have caused Gulf State citizens.


    June 19, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Capsaicin

    Admittedly Obama was too scared of the GOP criticizing him for meddling in what appeared to be a private oil companies problem–and too trusting in BP's preparedness and honesty at first. That lost us a week or two. Still, for Southern state Republicans to criticize the president for being 'slow' after years of their own avoiding oil company safety regulating and in fact politically working against safety regulations for the oil companies is the height of hypocrisy.

    June 19, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Jack

    not to want new policies in place, that would not only allow us to catch up with, but hopefully outpace the advances made by other countries in regards to clean energy development; while adding to the financial growth of our country through the creation of new jobs, would be a missed opportunity. We've pretended this problem hasn"t existed long enough-I'm with the President-lets help build up America's future once more and end our reliance on fossil fuels.

    June 19, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Phil T. Listener

    Instead of pointing the finger at our president, why not give up the donations the oil companies bought the GOP with, sir?

    Do you and the rest of your party want the government to take responsibility for this, have the taxpayers bail out BP, or should BP and Dick Cheney's Halliburton be held accountable for cutting corners to save a few million?

    Unfortunately the party of "NO" still tries to play the blame game rather than working with the administration to solve our problems.

    Please go away, and don't let the door hit you on the way out!

    June 19, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. mike

    what republican do you know of that has said anything positive
    about Obama and the oil spill in the gulf they are like little puppets that are controlled by rush saying the same old thing none of them say anything different and if they do like Barton there out or tell the media
    he or she doesn't speak for them and you know thats is a joke they
    just do it behind closed doors what republican has challenge rush on anything because they are cowards thats why so do you honestly
    think you are going to get a fair answer on anything

    June 19, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. ib

    Yoou libs need to read the posts here most of the whining and crying is done by libs because people are waking up to what a joke we have for a president.

    June 19, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. stevetall

    So many confused/not smart Republicans in the Senate. I guess they can't all fit into South Carolina!

    Having Republicans in government is like trying to swim with a boat anchor chained to your ankle. It's especially hard to make any progress except to sink.

    For a moment, just imagine how much we could accomplish if the Republicans would cooperate! Now, if we could find some who cared about the America we are instead of the America they wish we still were, that would be great. Until then, most are just a bunch of fuddy-duddies who would rather see America fail so they could sing, "I told you so".

    June 19, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. linell, former republican, Winter Park, FL

    The GOP needs to cease and desist...All I can say is thank the Lord that they are not in the White House...I can just imagine how McCain and his erstwhile side kick Sarah would be dealing with this...similar to Haley Barbour's attempt from day one to minimize the significance of the oil spill. If you're going to kick, at least kick toward the common goal of solving the problem, not just constantly complaining, and defending BP.

    June 19, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. richard

    i wander how much stock roger wicker has in BP. i blogged in the beginning of this oil disaster, that it is a connection bwt BP, and the republicans [ bohener] has floated the baloon . he wants the taxpayers to foot some of the clean up bill. slow response my BUTT . the GOV'T agencies are the imcompent ones here not obama. but like the republican war cry for 2010 and 2012. is to "BLAME OBAMA". for the whole damn thing.

    June 19, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. 60s survivor

    I like a lot of posters here I cannot understand GOP logic. you don't want federal help. you want federal help. we all know you want this president to fail from the beginning. and the GOP track record confirms this. so who in their right mind could trust anything they say?

    June 19, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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