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. shawn

    Ummmm, I thought Republicans didn't WANT any government involvement in their lives (except forcing women to give their birth against their will, dictating who can marry whom, turning the USA into a police state and restricting rights based on ethnicity, etc.), so WHAT are they whining about? Get some values and stick with them!

    June 19, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Ken

    These Old Republican Idealouges are really pissing me off. They can't take care of their own backyard, or oceanfronts so they ask then demand the federal government for help. They couldn't send out skimmers themselves? They don't ahve the resources to put up sand boons? They just complain and moan about everything. Not one of them has an alternative or somebody else in mind who can do a better job. Then the double talk, "federal government is the problem not the solution." Now they are demanding to know where the goverment is. Imagine a smaller government that didn't have responders there immediately after the oil rig exploded, Now imagine the republicans in control of government, not working just complain.


    June 19, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Djinn

    Another corporate apologist! VOTE ALL THESE JERKS out of office and out of the corporate elite pockets.

    June 19, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Nancy

    The Republicans are hypocrites – Obama will never please them.
    They say he's "taking over America" but now he hasn't done enough to stop the oil leak. They just want to find fault and they offer no solutions. I think the governors of the states effected are responsible, also, to the extent they are "in bed" with the oil companies. It's a terrible man-made catastrophe that didn't have to happen if BP was more concerned with safety and people's lives than it was with making money.

    June 19, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. DAN

    Wow........I know one thing!!!! I,m going to VOTE in NOV. and i wont be voting GOP........you are all flakes!!!!!! The party of NO will get a NO vote from me and everyone i know have said the same!!!!! So GOP keep up the good work so we can say goodbye to you in NOV.

    June 19, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Mark from Louisiana

    obama seems much more concerned with deepwater drilling in Brazil, he has approved taxpayer funded loans to Petrobas, the Brazilian owned oil company to the tune of 2 billion last year and 10 billion this week.
    Of course the infusion of our tax dollars last year helped the stock prices, George Soros who bought 1 billion dollars of Petrobas stock about two months before obama approved the 2 billion dollar loan made over a billion dollars profit in six months.

    Did Soros buy a billion dollars worth of stock knowing ahead of time that obama would approve those loans?

    After all obama is George Soro's lapdog

    June 19, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Ramon

    Republicans a party of NO ideas just counting how many seats they"re going to win in November without doing any work.

    June 19, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. BillE

    Remember this GOP crap at the voting booth. We can say NO also.

    June 19, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. malabar

    I for one am happy to see conservative Americans giving Obama the same undivided attention that liberals gave Bush. no man is perfect and NO man represents all that we stand for. funny seeing Obamas and libs dreams crushed by the weight of his own ego. he's just a pair of big deaf ears- seems to pick up on a lot but useless really, just 4 show

    June 19, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. InlandEmperor

    Wicker...who are you? Most citizens of the country don't know that you exist. What is your record re: prevention of these catastrophe's occurring? Presuming you have some track record what is it re: the response to Katrina? It's troublesome to have to endure your banal comments while Americans struggle as a result of you and your comrades consistent obstruction of this President's attempts to bail out the country from neo-con chicken hawk policies that have put us in the mess we are currently fighting our way out of.

    June 19, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Bobby in Atlanta

    Why is it that the Republicans never want to talk about a comprehensive national energy policy to get our country to use less oil, in particular foreign oil? Aren't we really setting up our children and grandchildren up for a potential energy crisis? What are the Republicans solutions? Heck, what did they offer up between 2001 and 2008? The Republicans do not have any solutions to this countrys problems, especially energy problems.

    The Mississippi Senator spent more time attacking the President than he did the responsible party, BP! Really? And this is passing for Republican leadership? Wake up people! Did this Senator mention anything about how the oil industry as a whole is going to address this big problem moving forward? Or how do we know that this same problem won't happen again next week or next month or next year? He's more concerned with attacking the President than attacking the real issue. He should be ashamed.

    June 19, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. The proof is in the pudding.......look at Rep. Bartons apology to BP....

    Since Rep. Barton, the Republican, has apologized to BP during interrogations on the hill for what he calls a "shakedown" regarding President Obama setting up an escroll account for $20 billion with BP covering damages to the Gulf and it's victims......we can label that as "living proof" by personal testimony that Republicans, if they were the Administration in charge now, would have let BP begin cleaning up the Gulf when it was conveniant to them at a price for damages they decided for themselves. We now know there would have been caps for any litigation to Gulf victims and that Republicans would have let BP dictate the terms to any litigation claims by victims at their own pace.
    In light of this testimony, how can any Republican criticize President Obama's response as he holds BP responsible for EVERY penny of the clean up? In addition to the fact Republicans believe in less Government ; How can they actually complain a $20 billion response requiring BP be responsible isn't big enough Government involvement when Republicans believe in smaller Government ??? This is what they have been declaring as their ideology for over 50 years up to present day. The Republican criticism of Obama's response to this catastrophe is ludicrous and the GOP is a joke!!!

    June 19, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. turbonupe

    now, i'm curious, what was going on at the state level to fight this, this is nothing but passing the buck and political posturing, these gulf state governors got fat off theses oil companies, and now they are trying to shift blame.

    June 19, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. fortydam

    First it's the socializing government taking over private business, then it's the government not taking over the spill sooner, (on the tax payers tab.) First it's "drill baby drill" and the "government has too many restrictions on private business and drilling", then it's Obamas fault that the spill even happened. What is the message of the ultra right this week? They blow in the wind from the air bag fascist Rush Limbaugh, Palin, Hannity, and Beck. Never has one party done so much to divide and destroy our country. They didn't loose the election, they started a new brand on "just say NO politics". This will now take place every time a party get's the minority in the house and senate. It is the doom of our government. Turn off FOX news and find a way to help, not just obstruct.

    June 19, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Stan

    This President, Barack Incompetence, is a disgrace to the office of the Preseident. Love reading his dwindling list of supporters trying to twist their logic to justify his incompetence. LOL

    June 19, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. jeff jackson, alabama

    People from our gulf area realize that the speed with
    which Obama has moved on the oil spill makes the
    speed Bush used on Katrina look like a pair of panties
    coming off at the Bill Clinton Whitehouse.

    June 19, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    To Sue – instead of chasing your asinie theories, why don't you get your lazy ass down to the Gulf and help clean it up, you oil-loving hooker.

    June 19, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Gymo

    I don't even bother to listen to the Republicans anymore, I know exactly what they are going to say; it's always whine and complain about Obama – Then – whine and complain about Obama, some more.

    Why bother to listen when it's just Obama static noise complaints, it no longer the GOP , it's now the OGP=Obama Grouse Party.

    June 19, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. zb

    Sure, drill baby drill. Maybe we should let BP drill another well so then there can be two oil leaks they don't know how to fix. Don't you just love these guys who blame Obama for for everything when its really their policies that created the disaster just like they created the economic meltdown on wall street. The only people dumber then these guys are the ones who vote for them. I suppose they are all afraid that Obama will take away their right to be idiots.

    June 19, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. REG in AZ

    I’ve said that I am anti-Republican but that really isn’t accurate. What I am is actually anti those who took over the Republican Party, turned the Republican representatives into their ‘puppets’, organized the perpetual campaigning to be an impressive con job aimed to constantly deceive and manipulate the people and who really are those who make the decisions that always benefit Special Interests and the few. As I see it I’m against the likes of the Carlyle Group, the oil industry executives, including Halliburton, and several others who are the real control in the wings. George W Bush was obviously only a ‘puppet’ who as they satisfied his ego and promised him substantial financial gain he simply, without even any hint of a conscience, totally did their bidding; Sarah Palin (and likely others) stand ready, again without conscience, to continue where Bush left off. It was also very apparent that Dick Cheney filled the roll of ‘puppeteer’ and liaison as he was the conduit for the instructions. The results cost this country drastically and of course, only benefited the very few.

    We have seen their overt and covert support, their powerful, influential and wealthy promotion with the ‘Swift Boat’ attacks, in their emotionally swaying of the Christian block, in using appeals to people’s biases, prejudices and attachments to manipulate public opinion and even now with the Tea Party Movement; all being impressive but deceptive efforts, and without those efforts the Republican Party would be really hurting. The people swayed feel correct and justified, being emotionally tied in, but the proof that they are being ‘used and abused’ is in the results. We have the vivid example of what happened with Bush-Cheney where they arrogantly and stubbornly totally focused on a private agenda to benefit Special Interests and a select very few while just giving everyone else apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge; the list is very long, the costs were really great and the in-your-face obnoxiousness was always there. Even now, they aggressively mount unreasonable attacks, faulting and blocking everything, against Obama and again get the people emotionally tied into positions that benefit only the few. Obama could definitely use bipartisan cooperation to fine tune and adjust the efforts to resolve the drastic problems he inherited from Bush-Cheney, there simply is no doubt about that, but instead the Republican Party decision makers put political ambitions above all responsibility and just criticize and obstruct everything, no matter what the cost to the people. If those being manipulated could just resist the subterfuge and simply check their emotions to see the obvious truth, they would recognize the absurdity of faulting Obama for the problems whose origination preceded him and where he is making honest efforts to soften the effects while fighting to solve the problems – especially when the Republicans really have no answers and only want to return to ‘more of the same’.

    That explains what I am really against, what I am ‘anti’. It all likely started with Nixon, grew dynamically with Reagan and hit the extreme pits with Bush-Cheney (and Rove,,). Today it is an impressive force but it is very scary as it can only do more damage as it strives to satisfy the insatiable appetite of a few, for more, and more, and more.

    June 19, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Marty

    Another GOPer trying to garner votes playing politics with disaster. It is so transparent and disgusting. Perhaps Mr Wicker could run down to the Gulf Coast with his mop to help with cleanup. He would be more useful.

    June 19, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    Just the same ol' republican buzzwords: they meander from "terrorists under the bed" to "bring it on" through "mission accomplished" & "mushroom cloud". Now it's "socialism. communism, ism's that don't even exist, death panels and the current sound bite "the President is moving too slowly" .... of course, with no ideas of their own! Go ahead, republicans – send in the tainted FEMA trailers ... whoops! Wrong natural disaster ...

    June 19, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Liberal4Obama

    Everyone knows the GO(B)P don't want Americans to be compensated by BP. Ask their leading apologist, Joe Barton.

    June 19, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Stike 1

    if the southern congressman would shove their flaming crosses down the leak and decide they are part of the United States and then and only then will we come forth as united states. Southerners of all colors fought for generations to preserve freedom and these overstuffed egomaniacs are doing their best to undermine and destroy it.

    June 19, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. one voice

    Let's slam your party for allowing B.P. to regulate their own. You want to point your finger clown, investigate Cheney and company and SHUT UP.

    June 19, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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