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. sonny chapman

    Where were all of these Repubs. when W. was exploiting 9-11 to stifle all political opposition on EVERY issue ?

    June 15, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. aaron in minneapolis

    Is it just me or does it seem odd that the GOP is saying a new energy policy is a job killer when the BP oil disaster is killing jobs and is going to give our economy a serious punch in the gut?

    Wake up republicans, all they care about is oil and profit. Oil and profit. Get it, oil and profit?

    what they don't care about: environment and YOU!!!

    June 15, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Tony

    Seems to me that the Republicans have been using oil to exploit the country!

    June 15, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Mark from Louisiana

    Perhaps this is why drilling in Alaska is off the table–it would actually keep America safe and strong and won’t make Obama Boss George Soros even richer than he is now.

    Interestingly, it seems the more trouble we have, the better it is for Soros. Last year, Soros noted he was “having a very good crisis” having bet against the United States and profiting from her economic downturn.

    Now we learn Soros is set to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Gulf oil catastrophe. With Obama’s ‘moratorium’ and the Obama Admin’s general hostility to drilling, it’s reported many oil companies have already looked into with Brazil regarding a move those shores. And what is Soros principally invested in right now? Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company.

    Obama’s Boss Sees Silver Lining in BP Spill

    Reuters is reporting that Brazil stands to benefit from the BP oil spill catastrophe as the US moratorium makes more rigs available for other countries.

    Even as an ecological catastrophe makes the future of U.S. offshore drilling less certain, Brazil is plowing ahead with a $220 billion five-year plan to tap oil fields even deeper than BP’s ill-fated Gulf well, which is still leaking crude.

    It’s estimated that thirty five rigs are now sitting idle in the Gulf of Mexico. Brazil is already getting inquiries from companies wanting to move their rigs there. Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras already produces about a fourth of the world’s deep water oil…

    The shortage of rigs could help Brazil become a major oil exporter.

    What an amazing stroke of good fortune for Obama’s boss, unrepentant Nazi collaborator, George Soros! Soros is also invested in offshore oil drilling in Brazil, assisted by the American taxpayers.

    June 15, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. valwayne

    It really is amazing that Obama would use the incompetence and failed leadership from his administration to deal with the oil spill as a reason to push his cap, con, and tax scheme!!! But then we know the White House's view on these things: "Don't let a good crisis go to waste"!

    June 15, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Typical Republicans that take twice as much from oil companies.

    If not now, WHEN? When republicans are back in control? They want the credit for something the dems have wanted for decades?

    Typical republicans.

    June 15, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. KK

    If you think the President is using the fact that the gulf is filling up with oil to prove a point about pursing alternative energy as a means of long term sustainability, then your brain may not be as full of oily sea water as one might have thought.

    I don't think exploitation is the word you are intending. I believe the word you are looking for is conformation. Conformation that our current energy practices are dangerous to the environment, our security and our health, while reaping billions for foreign owned corporations.

    Exploitation would be when a president were to, lets say, start an illegitimate war based on unsubstantiated evidence and pilled up resentment of an unrelated terrorist attack. Hypothetically speaking.

    June 15, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    "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."

    Sort of like how President Cheney and his puppet used 911 to foist their illegal war for profit on us. Turnabout is fair play, neoclowns. Have a nice day!

    June 15, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. TCM

    absolutely...it's about time the media has said it....Obama's letting the oil flow and flow...destroying the economy, the way of life, for thousands...all to corral them into the entitlement fold...to make them dependent on the government. Creating a class of serfs to serve the lord...keeping them poor enough, and sprinkling on enough hope to bring about votes. Obama's intentionally sabotaged this incident through delaying, avoidance and denial...all to further a backbreaking and unwanted energy agenda....

    June 15, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Get A Grip

    Well, Obama is very good at 'exploiting' many things including oil.

    June 15, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. GOP is bad for America

    Once again the GOP is clueless and only wants to prevent any actual progress from being made in our country. OF COURSE the entire country, not just President Obama, should use this unprecedented environmental disaster to re-evaluate where we are getting our energy from, what the risks are, and if we could find a better way. To do anything less is simply refusing to face the facts and refusing to face an upleasant reality will not make it go away. The GOP is weak on ideas and refuses to address our country's real problems. At least the Democrats are strong enough to take those problems on even if it is politically risky. I truly do not understand why anybody listens to the GOP - the party of no ideas and no future for our country.

    June 15, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    I wish these stupid Republicans would SHUT UP and try supporting our president and country instead of trying to turn everything into a political hay..... YOU LOST. SHUT UP AND DO YOUR WORK FOR OUR COUNTRY.

    June 15, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |

    FAR, FAR LESS THAN BUSH USED 911 for everything from tax cuts and lax regulation (in order to demonstrate to Bin Laden our resolve to spend far beyond our means) to fabricating a case to invade Iraq. Oil is problematic in so many ways and it will get harder and riskier to extract as the "low hanging fruit" goes away. As the price skyrockets before it runs out, there will be untold political and diplomatic turmoil over an increasingly scarce resource. We can start now (though it may already be too late) and lead the way in the next energy resource or find ourselves in these situations and worse as we move forward.

    June 15, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Rick

    His name is SLObama, thats SLOW bama and lier to meet that who uses nothing but words and lies to try to be the wanna be hitler, OHHHH SLObama if you were so great and powerful, then why did lightning hit the oil tanker pumping thoil now, you are not the savior SLObama, you are the ANTI christ,

    June 15, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. gt

    yea think ,,,he is going to blame everyone for the disaster.. and not be accountable for the slow action of the government...america need s the oil ..we need the jobs from the oil , but we need to be safe and careful with drilling,,,

    June 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Stacie

    Obama wants to "exploit" this horrible disaster to push an energy plan that INCLUDES OFFSHORE DRILLING?!?! It's official, the republicans are desperate idiots!

    President Obama has been telling us to work towards more sustainable energy sources that wean us from our unhealthy addiction to oil, most from other countries, since he was a state senator. Puleeze!

    June 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. MsDp

    To all idiots, this is not exploiting it is merely common sense! Something has to be done to get us off of OIL and on to the discovery of renewable energy. WHEN BABY WHEN! No more DRILL BABY DRILL!!! The time is now! Let's get started with the discovering options NOW! WAKE UP AMERICA

    June 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Can't these repugs get a life? So now President Obama, who is trying to help these idiots out (politicians not the people) has an agenda?
    What the heck do these people want from the President?
    How is he going to kill more American jobs? Do these butt heads listen to what they say or do they just turn on the key behind their lower backs and start talking without thinking!?!?!?!?!?
    If anyone needs to be out of Congress it's the party of NO.

    June 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Stupidscript

    "Do More!!"
    "Do Less!!"
    "Why can't this Administration do more?!?"
    "This Administration is doing the wrong thing!!!"

    Make up your freaking minds. The GOP continues its demonstration of the absurdity (where available, and absence as usual) of its ideas.

    June 15, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Slick William

    Glenn Beck hit the nail on the head....

    You would have to be a blind dolt not to see what is transpiring before our very eyes.

    June 15, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    Mr. President..........EXPLOIT away!!!! Damn the GOP.....
    Yes the DEMS want to TAX CARBON POLLUTERS......huge companies that are ravaging the atmosphere.........the only way to move off the lazy chair of oil, and coal, is to raise prices on the manufacturers........They will then put some price hikes on us, but that will only result in a more ferocious tenacity to create/harness new sources of clean energy. The natural gas, clean energy revolution is the new market that awaits America......We must be bold.......We must create an industry out of thin air that has never exsisted before.

    That's the greatness of America, and what we are about.

    June 15, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Stacie

    Oh, and how dare those mean democrats want to regulate off shore drilling to prevent another spill like this. BP and other big oil companies can be trusted to keep their rigs safe, right? We have not right to regulate their business. Isn't that what Rand says?!?!

    One more thing, someone please tell me the last time a solar panel exploded, killed hardworking Americans and creating an ongoing environmental disaster.

    June 15, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. BeverlyNC

    I accuse the Republicans of CAUSING theTOTAL DESTRUCTION OF OUR GULF REGION.
    Dick Cheney held secret meetings withe all the oil companies in 2001 and has refused to turn over the meeting minutes. Soon after Cheney personally appointed all the heads of regulation of the oil industry at MMS. That' is when the "deregulation" of the oil industry began, the corruption began, and oil companies eliminated all safety departments and safety plans.
    Now due to total lack of regulation by Bush/Cheney and the current Republicans – BP had a total criminally negiligent explosion that killed 11 workers and has spewed more than 50M barrels of oil into our Gulf.
    BP has no idea how to stop the spill, is legally trying to duck responsibility, has paid no business owner more than $5000 when most make above $20-40K a month this time of year.
    Republicans in Congress are trying to PROTECT BP and do not want them to have to pay more than $75M in liability. We are way over $30B right now with no clean up barely begun and oil still gushing into our waters.
    Republicans want President Obama "to stop being so hard on BP". Republicans want NO regulations or Clean Energy Act to protect America from criminal polluters in the future.


    President Obama is doing an outstanding job cleaning up Republican messes. If Republicans have a solution, speak up, otherwise shut up and get out of the way of the intelligent People who are working to clean up their mess and restore this country and the lives of working People.

    Republicans have BETRAYED us all. They even want the taxpayers to pay for BP's disaster!!!

    This oil spill is NOT the fault of President Obama. It lies at the feet of BP and the Republicans who let the oil companies, just like the banks, run wild until it blew up in their face. Now we are all paying for their greed and stupidity.

    NO more Republicans in NOvember!!!

    June 15, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. Anthony Beasley

    And who is using the oil spill for political gain? This is so funny to see! Republicans are game-planning and have been from the beginning. He's moving to fast and being too harsh. Then it was, he's moving too slow and being to soft. Please cut the crap!

    June 15, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. John

    Gotta love the GOP:

    If Obama address the nation about the spill he's exploiting it.

    If Obama remains mainly in the background he's avoiding it.

    June 15, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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