ABC News: GOP: Hold Off on BP Hearings; Senators Avoid Terror Story for Now
The day after a suspected terrorist was arrested trying to flee the country, Republican senators didn't even mention the threat at their weekly press conference. Instead, they focused on the Gulf of Mexico oil slick and urged Democrats to slow down Capitol Hill hearings on who is to blame for disaster.
Despite some early indications that Republicans would go on the offensive toward the Obama administration for arresting Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen, and reading him his Miranda rights, Sen. Mitch McConnell and other GOP Senate leaders chose instead to talk about the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico today.
"Obviously, what has been dominating the news lately is the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the gulf," said McConnell.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican, described the Gulf situation as "like a nightmare unfolding slowly before your eyes."
"There's going to be plenty of time to assign blame, but what we need to be focused on right now is how we contain the devastation, how we contain and capture the spill at the sea bed, how we deal with the released oil on the surface, to make sure that we have all assets deployed that are absolutely possible," said Murkowski, who pointed out, "It took nine days for the administration to determine that this incident was in the national interest and to ensure then that all assets, all federal assets would be available."
"Folks want to bring the individuals from B.P., get the execs in here, and basically start pounding them," she said. "My interest right now is to make sure that everybody who can do anything to help contain the spill is doing that job right now rather than coming up here and trying to figure out how they're going to be briefing the Congress."
She was echoed by Sen. George Lemieux, R-Fla., who toured the oil slick by plane on Monday.
"Right now, it's not time to find fault with the administration for what they could have done or should have done. Right now, it's not the time to find fault with B.P. of what they could have done or should have done. Right now is the time to have every available resource and all sense of urgency possible to keep this from growing," he said.
"We don't need them up here coming to hearings, we need them down there in the Gulf, doing their job," said Lemiuex.
Two House committees and one Senate committee have requested testimony on the incident from BP executives in the coming weeks.
# # #