June 19th, 2010
05:40 PM ET
13 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. ken herber

    Wicker is slow, slow in condemning, there have been many beforre you–your late on the bandwagon. Get wise-advocate the premise that the President should have immediately "donned a wet suit" doved to the hole and closed it . Come on Wicker, you'r not at all REAL, become a supporter not an anti, anti antagonist.

    June 19, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Republicans do nothing for decades about the real problem- drilling at all, and when one of their wells is rushed into service by shoddy regulation they put in place, they blame someone else for the affects.
    They wanted the President to quickly move clean up crews and equipment into the area and stop the environmental disaster we have. The fact that all that would have done is waste money as the leak continued to spill oil doesn't matter to them because the equipment they are talking about belongs to their cronies- the oil companies.
    It irresponsible to have moved too quickly. It is naive to think anything of consequence could have been done earlier. Because Mr. Obama decided to research before wasting money is intelligent.
    We have seen how a Republican President reacts to a problem- sit and read when we are under attack and then get us into a war. Or, when given almost two weeks notice of the pending didsaster of a hurricane to do so little in prep that an entire city is left homeless and destroyed.
    It's time for the Republicans to shut up and back our President.

    June 19, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Gil

    From "Drill, Baby Drill," cuts in inspectors of oil drilling facilities, to deregulation, to support by Barton for BP the republican party is all over the place. It probably needs to see where the next pay checks are coming from? Big corporations, Banks, Big oil or a new looyist group? Oh, that is right, Meg Whitman has billions and will probably pay for them!

    June 19, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Lou

    The Houston Chron article was not an article, it was a blog, an opinion piece. The offer was not refused. The only offer that was refused was an offer of dispersants from a foriegn nation. The offer from the Dutch was and is under consideration and much of their offer has been acccepted and put into action. Pathetically the republicans twist facts to try and make their case. They will do anything to bring down this president and nothing to rally around our fellow citizens who are battling this spill. Of course they have no problem rallying behind BP and the other oil companies to try and limit the liabilties these companies might face.

    June 19, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. domincanmamaforuhbama

    Please. You don't have to tell us how stupid uhbama is. We already know.

    June 19, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. mike

    the american people will never hear the truth coming out of the republicans parties mouth because all you hear is failure what I don't hear is any solution remember one thing Obama like most of us don't work on oil rigs and it seams to me the only people to blame for this problem are the people who work on these rigs if they saw a problem that was a safety concern then they should have stuck together as a group an put a stop to it this is were they live, now because of there lack of courage everyone is suffering they may have lost there job but they would have saved a future for there kids OBAMA DID NOT CREATE

    June 19, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    I'm disgusted with the Repub ideology that whatever our President does is wrong. Even when he does exactly what they said they would do in the past they tell opposite lies.
    First they make ridiculous claims that he's taking over US auto makers, and finance companies, turning us all into communists, etc. then they cry and moan when he leaves the oil spill for the oil company to attempt to correct it's failures??
    The Repubs AGAIN are acting like pubescent school yard bullies who can't control their selfish and fearful reactions to every little impulse they feel. The GOP has done nothing but say "NO" on ever issue since Obama was overwhelmingly elected as our President.
    Remember when the Repubs called anyone who didn't support our President a traitor??? They have become what they claimed to hate.

    June 19, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    If Obama had taken over the operation in the first week the Republicans would have accused him "socialism." Now they're using this in another attempt to destroy his Presidency, and at the same time accusing him of politicizing the disaster. Why is anyone still listening to them?

    June 19, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Elizabeth

    I think the President should stop the leak by using all the Republicans BS.

    As for the people in Lousiana, please stop the dam whining, because if every Americans made it to Lousiana, the problem would still exist until the leak is stopped.

    Also, why is it your state does not have a plan for this very scenario? Are they not responsible for holding these oil companies responsible?

    June 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. W L jones

    Remember state rights!

    June 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Aren't you the same bozo that kept saying that the oil spill was nothing major and shouldn't have any effect on tourism?

    June 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Dixie

    I'm so sick of these stupid political remarks. I have never voted a straight ticket in my life, but I'm going to say NO to the Republicans from here on in.

    June 19, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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