Louisiana Congressman John Fleming Characterizes BP Oil Spill As A Disaster of Biblical Proportions

Louisiana Congressman John FlemingThe unfortunate families in the Gulf got no comfort listening to the President’s energy address this week.  Even as President Obama was preparing his speech, Asbury noted that the government released a new estimate of the amount of oil flowing from the well. It was estimated that as much as 60,000 barrels could be spewing into the Gulf of Mexico each day, a sharp increase over the estimate last week of 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day.  Meanwhile, Asbury was incredulous that the Obama administration was talking about climate control, when it was not going to help a single Gulf family or clean up the spill.  And he thought that Obama’s pledge to accelerate the energy program to create millions of jobs was hard to believe since the Obama administration has not accelerated any program it proposed—other than  the disastrous “cap-and-trade” package, which Asbury hoped would “sink under its own weight and oil tar in the Gulf, thereby saving millions of tax payers.”

Making a return appearance on Truth for America was Congressman John C. Fleming M.D. (R-LA), a family physician from Minden, LA, who was elected to Congress in December 2008.  Fleming represents Louisiana’s Fourth Congressional District, and is focused on sound economic policy to grow and create jobs, reducing the tax burden for all Americans, sensible health care reforms, a sound energy policy and representing Northwest Louisiana’s traditional values.  In this capacity, he was able to provide an informed, eye-witness account of the undertaking to control the BP oil spill.

Congressman Fleming described the BP events in Louisiana as “surreal” comparing the administration’s inactivity and late response to the oil spill to Jimmy Carter’s response to the Iranian crisis, where the perception was that Carter “sat impatiently, counting off the days for some kind of response.”  He also described the administration’s response to the disaster like that of the “Keystone Kops” of silent picture fame.

The one hero of the BP disaster, according to Congressman Fleming, is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is “the one bright strong man of action” when it comes to dealing with the oil spill.  Congressman Fleming noted that Jindal has marshaled the resources to deal with the oil spill despite Federal red tape and barriers put in his way to take action.

“There is simply a lack of leadership in the White House.  President Obama took nine days to acknowledge that the oil spill was a problem. And when he did, he turned down offers of assistance from other countries. He should have been bringing all the forces to bear to stop the damage,” said Congressman Fleming.

The Congressman described the oil spill as a “disaster of biblical proportions,” brought about in part because “the Obama administration is mostly made up of academics with no practical experience in real word jobs.  But we need real world solutions—NOW!”  The Congressman predicted that as a result of the oil spill, Louisiana will lose 30,000 jobs – at a time when jobs are already scarce.

Congressman Fleming agreed that the U.S. needed a comprehensive energy bill, but acknowledged that fossil fuels will be the energy source for the U.S. through our lifetime.  What he does not want to see is the reemergence of the cap and trade energy tax, which he describes as another example of the Obama administration “playing politics at the expense of the people in the Gulf.”

While Congressman Fleming likes the $30 billion BP has put into an escrow account, he is skeptical that it will reach the people that need it. Part of his skepticism stems from the slow pace that the payments are being made to local fishermen, and warns that some of this money could wind up in a “slush fund” to pay for other programs.

“The liberals in Washington are saying that the government can solve all of your problems.  But we see that it can not solve problems.  The healthcare bill and BP oil spill response are examples.  What we need are jobs,” said Congressman Fleming.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco SanchezNeal Asbury’s second guest was Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, who directs the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA).  Sanchez will be on the front line as the Commerce Department spearheads the implementation of the President’s National Export Initiative, which works to expand exports of American-made goods and services, creating new jobs.

“My priority is to implement the President’s goal to double US exports in five years, which will create two million new jobs,” said Sanchez, who laid out a four point program to spur exports:

1) focus on emerging markets, such as China, Brazil, India, Viet Nam, South Africa and Saudi Arabia; 2) focus on energy technologies that the US can export to other countries spurred by America’s world leadership in devoting resources to R&D; 3) exporting US expertise in infrastructure building; 4) capacity building – sending experts to other countries to help them maximize their capacity for economic growth.

For this agenda to work, Sanchez acknowledged that the US must be able to lower trade barriers that prevent American products from competing in foreign markets.   This must be balanced by transparency on trade issues and controlling theft of intellectual property.

Sanchez is particularly excited about the new Trans Pacific Partnership, which seeks to open new Asian markets to American goods.  He has been assigned a tight timeline of 24 months to launch this important trade initiative.

Echoing past guests on Truth for America, Sanchez is anxious to see the long stalled free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama get ratified.  But he is doubtful that with the full agenda of Congress, that trade will rise to the forefront, despite the fact that support for trade from Congress is growing as they recognize the need for a “robust export sector.”

Not surprising, mutually beneficial trade agreements with China will continue to be problematic, as Sanchez describes relations with China as “very, very challenging, even as we work with Europe and Japan, who are experiencing similar trade problems.  The big issues continue to be intellectual property and indigenous innovations.”

Sanchez noted that NAFTA has had an overall positive impact on the US economy and trade with Mexico has increased dramatically.

As for the future of US trade, Sanchez would like to see the President assume more trade authority and fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership.  He also wants to see America pass more free trade agreements, which create a trade surplus in every foreign market in which the US has a free trade agreement.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

One Response to “Louisiana Congressman John Fleming Characterizes BP Oil Spill As A Disaster of Biblical Proportions”
  1. Al Carroll says:

    Congressman Fleming,
    What in the world is wrong with the people in Washington? The time is now to forget about permits and EPA regulations. Billy Nungesser should go on and put the rocks where they will do the most good. The Pres. has done nothing to speed up the situation.. This is probably the first oil well that he has ever seen. We have a complete way of life at stake here.
    It is amazing to me how BP has been completely uncoopertive in this whole disaster. It would be interesting to me to know how many of these oil wells of this capacity are shut in and we are still importing oil like crazy. The Major Oil Companies have been shafting the American people since the 70′s. None of them have ever been forthcoming with how they operate…They have all been totaly intergrated and able to put profits whereever they needed them… In the early 70′s them companies put thousands of Service Station Dealers out of business. That is why there is no full service stations left in the country… We watched as our segment of the market was wiped out by the companies whose products we were selling….
    This situation has all the earmarks of the same thing with the fisherment and the charter boat people… We are in the process of watching another segment of our society going by the wayside had it appears now as it did in the 70′s. No one in government gives a big rats..

    Hope you had a good Fourth of July the Corps of Engineers did.

    Al Carroll
    ps I have just quit after fifth years in the service station business in Shreveport

Leave A Comment