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. gary

    Well which is it? Obama's not mad enough, he's not moving fast enough, now he's exploiting the oil spill? I'm sick of the Republican crybabies. The party of "NO" never has any constructive ideas. They only have questions and plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking. When will Republicans have ideas?

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

    DUH!!! And that is why the majority of people in this country voted him into office. We didn't vote him in to follow the republican agenda of Drill baby Drill. This is worse than dumb and dumber. This is just stupidity at it's finest.

    June 15, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. rob, austin tx

    What??? You got to be kidding. People, both republican and democrat are saying we need to change the country and its energy use. I honestly don't see how Obama is responsible for this. Even if Bush were still the top man in the country I wouldn't blame him. No one in their right mind would want something like this to happen on purpose.

    As to scoring political points, get real and think. Every party does this sort of thing with every major event that happens. Bush and republicans used this tactic after 9/11 for Iraq (the whole fear that they can bomb us someday with wmd's). Democrats and people complained about his handling of Katrina (i'm not saying it was a great job, just using it as a point) and used that to score points. And just what do you think they are trying to do by saying the democrats are using this as a political move? Sounds like they are playing to their base and continuing to bash the other party in any way they can. The people are mad and want our energy policy to change now that something is horrible is mashed in their face. Republican leaders are just trying change the subject because it is the democrats in power and their policies which may shape our future.

    If it were republicans in control democrat leaders would say the same thing.

    June 15, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Molly Weasley

    I didn't think it could be done, but the Republicans continue to outdo themselves in hypocrisy. A Republican Congress and a GOP oil tag team in the White House basically deregulated the oil industry. Then after the oil spill occurred, they've all been whining that "Obama's not fixing this, he's not fixing that" despite their usual tea-party-ish nonsense about "big government."

    And now, when President Obama actually tries to take action, they claim HE'S being exploitative.

    Off-shore drilling is an environmental disaster. It was before, it is now and it will be in the future. Counting on those kinds of jobs to fix our energy policy and our economy is unsustainable.

    Here's a message to the drill-baby-drill jerks that got us into this mess. You broke it. You left it for Obama to clean up. Now shut up and let him do it.

    June 15, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. GL

    Right about now who care with the GOP Corpration Company thinks,

    June 15, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Randy in PA

    Hey Mitch, STFU!!!!!!!!!! You and your GOP cronies would criticize Jesus if he were still walking the earth.

    Here's an idea, why don't you all try to think of something positive for once.

    June 15, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    The GOP helped MAKE this problem!
    They really need to just go away. The GOP have been nothing but a disaster for the last 10 years.

    June 15, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    If he is I say- GOOD! – Maybe this is the wakeup call this country needs. Unless you're in construction you don't need a 2 ton truck. Unless you've got a family of 6 or more you don't need a Navigator to get around town. Get rid of Bottled water all together and get a filtering system fro you home or use Britta's pitcher.
    At what point do we stop saying "something needs to be done" and start doing it?
    If we stopped buying foriegn oil there would be no turmoil in the Middle East,;at least not the way we have it now because no one would care.

    June 15, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. GL

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

    This is more about moving this country from oil depended, but you can not tell the non-Science Republicans that. They will fight with all their might for the CORP. AMERICAN!

    June 15, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. D. Bunker

    Apparently in the delusional GOPbagger world, pointing out that we need to move to new energy sources and reduced dependence on fossil fuels is all about "political points." Get a clue you nuts, it's about the future of our world, including your own grandkids. I guess you prefer your campaign cash now over the future of your descendants.

    June 15, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. dB

    I'm not an Obama Kool-Aid drinker, I don't think you can really know if a president is good or bad until years after he has left office, but it does seem that the guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He wasn't doing enough before and now that he is doing something it is exploitation. I hate politics anymore.

    June 15, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    "Never let a good crisis go to waste" is the model by which this administration operates. So, the oil spill is an excuse to shift attention back to Cap & Tax, another far left attempt to control still more of the U.S. economy and raise taxes beyond a tenable level during a recession. The Obama agenda is unbelievable and it's got to be achieved even if it bankrupts the nation. And it will.

    June 15, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. GL

    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."


    June 15, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    They want more blood for oil in the mideast

    June 15, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Capt. Snarky

    Tis True. The President could have suspended the Jones Act, and had skimmers, booms, etc. aplenty – offered from foreign governments eager to help. He said no, sat on his hands while things worsened. Now, he'll eagerly push his Cap and Tax agenda, relying on the public's fear of this crisis. "Never let a good Crisis go to waste". The motto of the Obama Presidency.

    Never mind the little guy, let's see where we can grab some power today!

    June 15, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Desert Mountain Man

    The Drill, baby, drill crowd will say whatever they can do to obscure the fact that they have continually pushed for MORE drilling anywhere and everywhere with no concern for the environmental consequences. They have also pushed for more mining, more logging and have opposed a move to newer green technology. Their moves toward greater deregulation of industry has led to the deaths of workers and the destruction of our mountains, beaches and oceans. Theirs is not a path we can continue to follow.

    June 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. rosaadriana

    What??!! What happened to drill baby drill and 8 years of safety deregulation? Obama's only crime is that he wants to get along with everyone to badly.

    June 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Man, the GOP's bag of lies is bottomless. How can any voter with a conscience vote for them?

    June 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Wouldn't they do that if they had something that could prove to be to their advantage? I have to say that reducing regulation is a bad idea in industries like this one.

    June 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. It's a no brainer folks...........

    Regulating the Oil Industry to prevent future destruction of our environment is NOT exploitation. It is correction of a mistaken deregulation policy. Energy policy happening on the cusp of this oil spill is not exploitation of the Oil industry itself. This policy changed was debated and already planned during the 2008 election. It was debated between Mccain and Obama......and the majority of our Nation made their decision. So Refiblicans need to stop the word games..........

    June 15, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Beachbum3

    Why is it only now that these republicans the icons of the big buisines & special instrest only recently started to pertend to care about the working class of men & women in this country an in the gulf reagion all the while still supporting the big oil instrest with theri mantra of dril baby drill. in my own personal opinion they care not for the working class men an women of the gulf states reagions only in the protection of the big oil instreste an seeing to it that they don end up paying out one more dime in compensation to these injured people that is absoultly necessary . the republicna mantra is protec big coporate instrest at all cost wheater it be to the private citizens or the small business fishermen or the resturants or what ever so long as it doesnt cost the coporate instrest one extra dime thank you

    June 15, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. GL

    Republicans have showed the American people time after time who side they remain on and it is not on the side of the People. Republicans where not for Health Care Reform, was not for touch bank regulations, and now they are not for oil regulations. American people need to wake up and see the Republican party for who their really are. They are the Party of No, Obstruction, Hate, Deregulation, in bed with the big greedy Corparations and the list go on.

    June 15, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. ib

    That is exactly what is going on and the sad part is that the far left and tree huggers can't get their head out of his butt long enough to see what is really going on.

    June 15, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Dano

    Exploiting the spill and using this disaster as a perfect example of why America MUST develope alternative sources of energy are two entirely different things, but I wouldn't expect a republican to understand details like that.

    June 15, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Slick William June 15th, 2010 3:29 pm ET
    "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."

    Because when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Have a nice day!

    June 15, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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