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. In the West

    Ridiculous accusation. The damage is there for all of us to see (and probably will remain there on the Gulf coast for decades). The only idiots are the rethuglicans who, despite a huge ecologic disaster and the likely long-term loss of livelihood for tens of thousands of Americans, still push for oil drilling to line the pockets of their cronies and donors. Remember, the repugs are the "money first" (over country) party..... shallow and sick.

    June 15, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Steve

    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."

    ----------

    It looks to me that this politican and his party are doing the political exploiting.

    June 15, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Rick Austell Ga

    The GOP are the one that messed up regulation of OIL now wnat to cry WOLF!

    June 15, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. snow

    His theory is to divide and conquer. He will pit the haves against the have nots and pit one race against another. Pathetic person to be in the White House.

    June 15, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Larry

    The dying Republican right wing agenda is desperate.

    Got anything else useless to say before you"re gone Repoublicans?

    June 15, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Edna

    I am so tired of Mike Pence and his group of stupid Republicans. Do something constructive for the American people and stop telling us what we want. You have no idea what we want. We want you to work, something which you have not done for the last 18 months or so. This country is going to hell because you Republicans can not stand to see President Obama and his administration forge ahead with ideas which will make this country better. I thank God every day of my life that John McCain and that idiot Sarh Palin did not win the election. I read the blogs every day and the rightwingers are so sure that the Republicans will take the House and Senate this year. I think not. We have something in store for you. Never will we let you destroy our country again.

    June 15, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Tristan

    At least he didn't spend 8 years milking 9/11 for political gain. bla bla bla. Whiners.

    June 15, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Typical do-nothing, keep the corrupt system the same, don't rock the boat,
    Republican cronyism at its best. The rest of the industrialized world is investing in modernized new energy infrastructure, while the Republicans in Congress along with the sell-out Dem's want to keep America stuck in the past to collect their $ from the lobbyists.

    June 15, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. all the news that's fit to omit

    "We mustn't let a good crisis go to waste".... hmm, who said that before?

    The POS has sent more lawyers than workers down to the gulf to look for people to sue and prosecute than to clean things up and stop the spread, par for this paper pushers course of "action".

    The time for CLEANUP is NOW, prosecute later and have someone else handle the payouts.

    The POS is working on a garbage bill that will COST ALL OF US MONEY and KILL even more jobs in time of crisis INSTEAD of signing a waiver of the Jones act and accepting the HELP that was offered by other nations.

    Leadership, are you people that stupid?

    Nevermind, I know the answer.

    June 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Karen

    Gosh, maybe instead of playing politics you Reps could actually, you know, HELP with the crisis? That would be novel.

    June 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Jame

    We need a good final solution for this nations's republican problem.

    June 15, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    But is it even "exploiting" to take a giant example of what happens if everything that could go wrong does go wrong and say "hey stupid! we need to be better prepared for this sh-t and do more to prevent it!!!" If it is, we need to do a lot more "exploiting" of certain things...starting with campaign finance and Wall Street regulation.

    I suppose this means, at the very least, that the Republicans are now signalling their willingness to admit that they exploited 9/11 to justify invasion of Iraq. Good to know. Ending the denial is the first step to healing.

    June 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. EBC

    Of course the GOP accuses President Obama. That's ALL the GOP seems to have time to do is point fingers and everything and everyone else but themselves since day one. WHY is this even news? I wonder when in God's earth do the Republicans get any WORK done? They focus ALL their time and energy on the constant blame game, its a wonder they get anything done at all.

    June 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Rick CT

    Far more useless than some claim the oil company contingency plans are for a disaster are the continual Congressional hearings for which we are paying good money. Are these clowns who sit up on their thrones really interested in learning something that would be useful? Of course not! Their sole purpose is to castigate whoever they demand appear before them with the sole hope of scoring political points and undeservingly saving their own jobs.

    June 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Joan

    The Republican party should keep its mouth shut regarding the whole oil spill mess. It was on their watch that the oil companies ran wild and the "Drill, baby , drill" slogan is all theirs. It is Haliburton (aka Cheney) who may be responsible for the explosion because they were working on it just hours before the tragedy. Bush, Cheney, and others were in bed with the oil companies and know it. Every time they open their mouths, they just look hypocritical and ridiculous. They are the ones who are trying to play politics with the issue.

    June 15, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Bill

    Mitch McConnell is an idiot.

    June 15, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Rick from Oregon

    This is the perfect time to get a comprehensive energy plan. One that can wean us off of big oil. Promoting green jobs will be GREAT for the economy. Just not great for the senators sucking on the teet of big oil. If we cannot get a decent plan after the monumental disaster, with a democratic president and 59 votes in the senate, then when will we? Now is the time that it HAS to happen.

    June 15, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Don Wuerl

    Good Lord! MAN CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MOTHER NATURE; BUT, SHE CERTAINLY CAN LIVE JUST FINE WITHOUT MAN! Big oil is certainly got the Republican Party paid off; and now, they are trying their damndest to confuse all of us. That oil in the water will evenually effect us; but, the pollutants in the air are definitely effecting us all, right now! DUH!!!

    June 15, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. EBC

    Gee Meg, must be nice to be able to throw away $40+ million while thousands of middle class families are struggling every day to make ends meet. I guess BUYING an election is far more important than donating the money to charities desperately helping thousands of families across the country survive. Like the a few of the coal miner's families.

    June 15, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. anthony

    By Republican logic, any time there is a problem, you can't exploit the situation by trying to fix it. If the economy tanks, you can't exploit the situation by trying to stimulate it. If there is a financial industry meltdown, you can't exploit the situation by trying to regulate Wall Street. If there is a disaster like oil spill, you can't exploit the situation by holding the oil company responsible. If there is a terrorist attack, you can't exploit the situation by attacking a country that had nothing to do with the attack. Oops, sorry about that. That one is OK by Republican standard.

    June 15, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. D.

    Has the Party of No complimented this President for anything?

    June 15, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Righter1

    I'm not against drilling...despite the mess out there...but why are repuglicans always whinning? Somebody help me.

    June 15, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. BillE

    The GOP is sure trying to push its adenda, but that ok.

    June 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Augsbee

    Oh no, please say it isn't so, I just today felt for the first time that I was finally listening to the President of the USA speaking. I hope tonight he doesn't use this catastrophe to push some energy bill, climate change legistlation just so that they can raise our taxes some more.

    June 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Jennifer M., Chicago, IL

    Where was Mitch McConnell earlier? Oh, that's right, pushing for more drilling.

    June 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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