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. Precious

    The Blind leaiing the blind...and the question is "where"?

    June 19, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. NYT:"during this election cycle big oil has paid 12.8 million in contributions, 71% to Republicans"!

    Yes, as the cons continue to prove daily, "Big Oil First, Country, oh Hell, who cares"?

    June 19, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. katiec

    What else would you expect to come out of a republican politicians mouth? For a political party that almost destroyed our country, acknowledge no blame for their destruction, have no workable, acceptable ideas of their own, lie, distort, fear monger, continue to give undying love and support to Wall St over the welfare of our country and us, what else can they do but be unsurpassed hypocrits, point fingers, pander in front of the cameras, wanting to continue their politics as usual, further destruction.
    They are a disgrace as politicians and for our country.

    June 19, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    So are the Republicans for or against Big Government? If they are against, then they should be elated that Obama stayed out of the whole deal and let BP and the private sector handle the spill.

    But they are now sounding like a bunch of phony conservatives whining that the federal government did too little and actually should do more to clean up the spill.

    The Republicans should put their money where there mouth is and pass another stimulus check so that President Obama can hire the scientists, the engineers, and buy the ships, the dispersants, the domes, the soap to clean up this mess.

    June 19, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    hey wicker chair, you and your rethug friends better stop accusing the President for the sun shining every single day also. barton and bachman and the quitter and boner and angle are all about themselves and how much money they can grab from us the people while speaking your "truth" and then trying to backpedal from your idiotic claims.
    Instead of mouthing off why don't you grab a shovel and go help clean up the oil. You repugs are the most disgusting bunch of whiners and liars and cheats and racists/bigots ever to be under one roof in DC.
    If you can come up with a solution bring it on, if you can't STFU!!!

    June 19, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Larry

    Another LAUGHABLE Republican mouthpiece, cutting his opinionated teeth, by being the NEXT Republican to criticize Obama

    Look folks .... ALL Americans understand that Republicans are the worst type of LOSERS

    But do we have to hear it from each and every one of you "ONE AT A TIME"

    We get it, Your going to do Everything you can in your efforts in trying to make him look bad

    When you Republicans start helping this country, instead of hurting it, maybe we Americans will consider caring one bit about what comes out of your mouths.

    June 19, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Mesa Mick

    This guy is nothing but a rethugliCANT political hack and paid shill for big oil. What did you expect from him – or any other southern rethug – a creative suggestion maybe?
    He's to busy tossing big oil's salad to do anything that would actually help this country.

    And HEY, ib @ 10:44AM – You're an idiot...

    June 19, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Patsy, Texas

    Amen, to all the comments (except two).

    June 19, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. max

    Aren't these the same idiots that apologized to BP ??? these idiots prove every day why THEY got us in the current state under the chimp in charge (gwb) and his evil henchmen (DICK, rummey and the rest)

    June 19, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Typical. He was "too slow" but if he had been more aggressive the GOP would be screaming about another "big government takeover" of private industry. Nobody believes you idiots.

    June 19, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Mike in Texas

    Watching Republicans criticize the President is like watching a tennis match. I keep having to turn my head to the left and right because they keep going back and forth on their criticism.

    They keep trying so hard to slam him on everything that they fail to realize that keep contradicting themselves.

    Their logic is this:

    If Obama is for A they are for B. If he is for B they are for A.
    Sometimes they use the however bit too. This is a start; however it is not enough or it is too late.

    You can't please everybody at any time and you can't please anyone all the time.

    I wasn't a Bush fan but I did support him on some issues. I didn't take an anti everything approach to him like some people (Sue, Four and the Door, TCM) take.

    Thank you and have a great day.

    June 19, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Ivan-AZ

    If the last 2 years haven't proven how big of HYPOCRITES the GOP are I'm not really sure what will. What do people want the President to do exactly? All i'm hearing is that his response isn't/wasn't fast enough...WTF should he swim down and plug the hole up himself? Honestly everytime I hear these aimless criticisms I think to myself, "other than blaming Obama what are YOU doing to fix the problem?" and usually especially in the GOPs case its NOTHING

    June 19, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    When a so-called leader preaches to the President about being too slow, and does so from a state that was still lynching black people nearly 100 years after the Civil War, you really do have to laugh (or cry).

    June 19, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Don of Iowa

    The Party of SMALL GOVERNMENT is crying and whining that BIG GOVERNMENT is NOT saving them from the corporate BIG OIL companies they protect and love so much. If they are not the most hypocritical party in existence then they are by far the stupidest party to ever exist and anyone who supports or votes Republican is even dumber than the party hacks who are pro corporate and big oil. I have one thing to ask, what has this Repulikkkan idiot done for the people being destroyed by this major debacle of the highest caliber carried out by the same interests Republikkans love so much? I can tell you in just a few simple short words, he has sat on his fat keester in Congress and said NO over and over again as others try to get something done for the American people. VOTE the PARTY of NO out of office in NOvember, we do not need one Republikkan left in office after NOvember, then finally we will get something done, until then all you will hear from these moronic idiots is NO!

    June 19, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When Wicker and Republicans slam President Obama they are slamming themselves because they too have a responsibility to help, isn't that what their constituents expect from them? Or is this the GOP' s way of CYA in their attempt to appear they are working for the people, I don't think so. When you work for the people in a disaster you don't work against the President.

    June 19, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. tony


    About the Houston Chronicle Article. British Petroleum should have these equipment. At least, if they are concerned about safety, they should have the equipment. The Dutch government has these equipment and it can handle the cleanup itself. The U.S. does not. It does not have laws that require the government to have these equipment. I don't think there are laws that require oil companies to have these equipment either. This is what happens when politicians depend on oil companies for campaign contributions and allow oil company lobbyists to write safety regulations. Do Republicans want to trumpet these facts? No.

    British Petroleum covered up the scope of the disaster the first few days after it happened. They only asked for help when it became clear that they did not know how to stop the leak from the undersea well pipe. In Netherlands the government will take over in 12 hours if the oil company cannot deal with an oil spill. In the U.S. we assume that the oil companies know what they are doing and have the means to deal with an oil spill. Republicans in the U.S. hate big government, especially when businesses are involved. (Republicans do not mind big government on social issues, but that is a topic for another day.) Had Obama Administration taken over the cleanup from BP before BP asked for help, Republicans would have attacked Obama for trying to take over everything. Sometimes you just can't win with these Republicans.

    June 19, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Minnesotan

    And if the President had 'moved faster' against BP, more Republicans would have been squealing about 'government takeovers.' It's a no-win for these GOP losers. They'll whine regardless of what he does.

    June 19, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Bob Ramos

    Unless Senator Wicker (R-MS) has been briefed about what the administration did or did not do since Day 1, unless he was an active participant in the meetings, unless he can offer constructive suggestions to help, he should keep his mouth shut.

    June 19, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. thor

    I 'd like to know If Obama is going to set up a fund for the EPA to pay into for allowing BP to spray toxic dispersants into the ocean waters.The poison will be devastating to the ocean life and there will be many people that are working in the area that will have medical problems.

    June 19, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Jim

    These republicans are a JOKE! They don't know what to do since Obama became president. They sit around and try to grab at anything they thing they can get their hands on to shame Obama. How sad are they?!!! They have no solutions to anything!!! They are a SORRY lot!!!
    These white guys (I am white also) just hate to see a black man running this country!!! Get over it fellows and start being an AMERICAN!!!

    June 19, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. ST

    I am tired hearing republicans complaining all the time. First of all, you did not assign the President any job (I mean you did not vote for him). Whatever he is doing he does it in the name of those who voted for him. You just only bring disturbance and interference in his performance. Please let the man work peacefully!

    June 19, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. KM

    But I thought "you guys" wanted less government interference in your daily lives. One day you want the government to go away, the next you're complaining that they are no where to be seen when an accident happens that was caused by a private corporation and the cleanup is done by local paid citizens.

    June 19, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. mel


    June 19, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Gary

    Obama is too slow, he's not mad enough, he's strong arming our best friend. Waah waaah, waaaah!

    June 19, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |

    I love the conservative whack jobs on here with the SAME OLD untrue comments about "Obama is an apologizer" (false) "Obama is destroying the country" (false) "Obama is a socialist" (false) and "Obama is destryoing capitalism" (also FALSE.)

    Let's hear your ideas and solutions...let's hear something true out of you...let's hear an idea of any sort.

    You are pathetic whiners.

    June 19, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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