President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaPresident travels again for meetings at Trump golf club in Va. Cotton: House 'moved a bit too fast' on healthcare Obama to travel to South Pacific island to work on memoir: report MORE should take over oil-spill cleanup efforts if the problem isn't fixed by BP on Wednesday, Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs FCC chairman: Whether NY Times, CNN, NBC are 'fake news' is a ‘political debate’ MORE (D-Fla.) said this morning.
Nelson, whose home state of Florida stands to be severely affected by the massive ongoing spill in the Gulf of Mexico, said that the federal government should take control of operations from BP, which is attempting a "top kill" maneuver to halt the flow of oil.
"If this thing is not fixed today, I think the president doesn't have any choice and he better go in, completely take over, perhaps with the military in charge, not because the military can do this, but the military has the apparatus, the organization by which it can bring together the civilian agencies of government and to get this thing done," Nelson said Wednesday morning during an appearance on CNN.
The Obama administration has been under pressure to do more - possibly even remove BP from the process - with critics charging that the oil company has been given too much leeway in organizing the response to and cleanup of the spill. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suggested over the weekend that the administration could push BP aside if its response wasn't adequate.
But the White House has since backed away from that possibility, saying it is reliant on the company's equipment, technology and expertise to cap the well.
The company will attempt a procedure today — if conditions are right — that would pump heavy mud and then cement into ruptured pipelines, in a bid to clog and halt the spill. It's seen as a potentially risky operation that could potentially make the leak worse, and BP executives have not guaranteed success.
Nelson also called for heads to roll at the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the government agency that regulates offshore drilling.
"I think the president is going to have to have Secretary Salazar clean house in the Minerals Management Service, which has had such a cozy, incestuous relationship with the oil industry," he said, "and basically let the oil industry rule the roost."