The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

June 15, 2010
Pelosi, Issa hear what they want to hear in oil spill speech

Sometimes, it really does seem like the two parties are playing politics in parallel universes in Washington.

Just look at the reaction to President Barack Obama's speech this evening -- the first he has given from the Oval Office -- to try to reassure Americans that he's on the case when it comes to the ever-worsening BP oil gusher in the Gulf.

Vowing that the government will "fight this spill with everything we got," he announced an independently overseen $20 billion escrow fund, financed by BP, to compensate those affected by the oil spill. The oil giant is suspending its dividend to shareholders to help come up with the cash. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, declared that Obama "demonstrated he is holding BP accountable for the oil spill and the resulting economic and environmental damage. BP and other responsible parties are going to pay the full costs of the cleanup and the damage to the Gulf economy; we will not allow them to leave taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars."

In her statement, she went on to say that the spill is "a harsh reminder of the price we are now paying for the Bush administration and Republican Congress placing the employees of Big Oil in charge of regulating their own industry" and that it should lead to a new energy policy that reduces carbon emissions and boosts alternative energy.

But Representative Darrell Issa, a San Diego Republican, responded to Obama's speech by bashing the moratorium on more offshore oil drilling.

"Conspicuously absent from the president's address was a plan detailing what to do to replace and retain the tens-of-thousands gulf region jobs that have been suspended due to the six-month moratorium that halted operations on 33 permitted deepwater wells. With the nation struggling with a prolonged period of joblessness, immediate action is needed by President Obama to get the workers he displaced back to work," Issa said in his statement.

"The politics of this crisis should not result in the permanent loss of tens of thousands of American jobs," he added. "In the state of Louisiana alone, where one-in-three jobs is related to the oil and natural gas industry, the moratorium will cripple their economy and leave thousands of families without income."

The completely different takes and the jabs at the opposing party show -- as if more proof were needed -- how difficult it will be for a bipartisan energy policy to emerge from Congress. 


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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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