The official Washington Republican reaction to President Barack Obama's Oval Office speech on the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill crisis isn't positive, to say the least.
Michael Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, criticized the president for calling for major energy legislation meant to reduce the nation's reliance on fossil fuels:
“Manipulating this tragic, national crisis for selfish political gain not only demonstrates President Obama’s inability to aptly lead our nation out of a disaster, but also reveals the appallingly arrogant political calculus of this White House. Exploiting the tragedy in the Gulf to try to ram through a devastating job-killing national energy tax is more of the same Chicago-style politics that has the President’s approval ratings plummeting to an all-time low. Instead of leveraging this crisis to manufacture knee-jerk political support for cap-and-trade energy taxes, President Obama should focus on providing the people of the Gulf with real and honest solutions to this horrible environmental disaster this Administration has been slow in waking up to.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a similar statement before the speech was actually delivered:
“While President Obama is speaking tonight, oil will continue to leak from the well and extend its stranglehold on the lives and livelihoods of the people in the affected areas. Even now, nearly two months after disaster first struck, the federal response remains inadequate and disorganized. Americans are rightly angry about this failure of government, and they want to know that their president is focused squarely on stopping this leak, cleaning up this mess, and finding out what went wrong.
“President Obama should not exploit this crisis to impose a job-killing national energy tax on struggling families and small businesses. Both parties should be working together to craft responsible solutions in response to this disaster. There’s nothing responsible or reasonable about a national energy tax that will raise energy costs and destroy more American jobs.
“President Obama will also reportedly address some of the financial issues surrounding the crisis, including the establishment of an escrow fund. These resources should be used to help the victims of this disaster, and not as a slush fund for trial lawyers or Administration officials seeking to paper over their own misguided decisions. BP should be held accountable for the full cost of this disaster – the taxpayers shouldn’t pay one dime - but that money must be directed to where it can be most effective in stopping this leak and aiding the recovery effort.
“I sincerely hope that the Obama Administration will not try to use a crisis made worse by its own failings to score political points on the backs of Americans living and working on the Gulf Coast. This moment demands a call to action based on our shared interest in stopping this leak, cleaning up this mess, and finding out what went wrong.”