June 15th, 2010
03:11 PM ET
11 years ago

Republicans accuse Obama of 'exploiting' oil

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/15/art.oilinwater.jpg caption="Congressional Republicans accused the President and his allies in Congress Tuesday of 'exploiting' the disaster in the Gulf."]Washington (CNN) - As President Obama prepared for a primetime address on the oil spill and Democrats presided over a hearing on Capitol Hill with oil company CEOs, Congressional Republicans accused the President and his allies in Congress Tuesday of "exploiting" the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to push for their comprehensive energy legislation. GOP leaders argue the Democrats' proposals would have a devastating impact on the struggling U.S. economy.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence told reporters, "The American people expect that this Administration will not use this opportunity to advance their liberal agenda."

Pence added, "We won't cap that well with cap and trade," referring to Democratic legislation to reduce and limit carbon emissions.

Echoing the same message from the Senate floor, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said, "While American livelihoods are in immediate danger and we watch oil gush into our waters and wash up on our beaches, now is not the time to push ideology, but to fix the problem."

But as the GOP warned Democrats against linking the oil spill with their proposals to realign U.S. energy policy–by focusing less on domestic oil production, and more on alternative sources of energy–the key authors of the climate change bill that passed the House narrowly last summer, were doing just that.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, argued at the hearing featuring top oil company executives, "Congress needs to review the evidence and pass new laws that put teeth into our regulatory system. But we cannot stop there. Our national energy policy is broken. We're addicted to oil, and this addiction is fouling our beaches, polluting our atmosphere and undermining our national security."

Another leading proponent of climate change legislation, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, said, "America must move to a safer, clean energy future so that we don't have to rely as much on oil to power our cars and our economy."

Michigan Republican Fred Upton, tried to head off any attempt by Democrats to use the hearing to push for their energy bill, which is still awaiting action in the Senate. Upton said he was "disheartened to learn that a few of the questions have nothing to do with the disaster that we're trying to solve and serve the sole purpose of scoring political points and trying to advance an unrelated policy agenda that will raise taxes, eliminate American jobs and leave consumers already struggling in this down economy with high energy costs."

Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, who represents an area along the Gulf that still reeling from the impact of the spill, ripped into President Obama, "We must figure out what went wrong to prevent this kind of disaster from happening again in the future but the President is now exploiting our disaster as a political opportunity to advance his radical agenda that will kill more American jobs."

Filed under: Congress • GOP • President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. hobart

    No matter what the President says or does on any subject whatsoever, we can count on the Party of No to say, "No!" How refreshing.

    How about we open inquiries into VP Cheney's secret meetings with the oil companies, who got to write their own regulations? How about we open inquiries into exactly how MMS got stacked with "oil company hacks," who don't even enforce what few regulations there are?

    Why don't Republicans ever come up with an idea, like tax breaks for the alternative non-fossil-fuel energy industry, or funding a better energy distribution grid?

    June 15, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. mamacoo

    Oh, for goodness sakes. Here we go again. The President hasn't even given his speech and Republicans in Congress are trying to control things, telling the President what he can and can not say. It can't be allowed!! President Obama can not be allowed to do anything that would benefit our country and the American people. And there will be some gullible indoctrinated Obama haters will fall right into line.

    June 15, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Righter1

    See? From comments so far, it seems republicans are just as clueless as ever. I can't understand how NO, NO, NO, will get them back to power. Hope NEVER.

    June 15, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    No matter what Obama does regarding the oil spill, the GOP will attempt to exploit his response...d-mned if he do, d-mned if he don't...in this case the GOP is attempting to exploit Obama's response by claiming that he's exploiting the spill.

    Irony 3,239,874: GOP 0

    June 15, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Alternative fuels are looking pretty attractive. If you don't believe pay attention to the Gulf.

    June 15, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. get real

    Hey look! The GOP doesn't have any possibly solutions to offer here either.

    Saying NO won't improve the economy, end two wars, create jobs, solve our health care problems OR PREVENT ANOTHER HUGE OIL SPILL!!!

    June 15, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Stacey

    Typical . To the Grand Obstructionist Party: Put up or shut the heck up! Got no ideas or solutions? Then shut up!!

    June 15, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Wisconsinite

    The GOP just doesn't want to give up their cash cow . . . OIL!

    June 15, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Wisconsinite

    I say, exploit the hell out of it! If it means we get off the oil teat . . . exploit, baby, exploit!

    June 15, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Shucks

    The republican moniker of Drill baby Drill has been going on since the oil crisis of the 70's. Jimmy Carter wanted to start weaning this country off of fossil fuels then and was totaly scoffed at by the republican party then. The republican party was in bed with oil back then and still are now. Do they actually think that the American people want to allow more wells to be drilled after this? I find it comical that the republicans are so in sync with Drill baby Drill and the majority of the party has never benefitted one penny. The only ones that have benefitted were the major politicians of the party and their cronies. Think independently, and look what is going on around you before you open your mouth. It is amazing what independent thought can produce.

    June 15, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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