Boehner: Obama has 'failed in his obligation' to act on spill

The top-ranking House Republican says that President Barack Obama “has failed” his legal duty to act over the last month during the ongoing BP oil spill.

Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) told reporters Thursday “under the law that the president has a responsibility to act and it’s also clear that the president has failed in his obligation to the American people to uphold the law and act.”

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Boehner provided few details to defend the charge that the president was shirking his duties but pointed to a speech given by his colleague, Rep. Steve Scalise (R) of Louisiana.

Boehner made the remarks several hours after news broke that the head of the agency that oversees oil leases and regulation, Elizabeth Birnbaum, was leaving that post immediately.

Asked about the apparent firing of the Minerals Management Service chief more than 30 days after the BP well explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Boehner replied that the agency was in disarray.

“We also have here a failure of the government to meet its responsibility, and while the head of the MMS may be replaced, it’s pretty clear here that there is an agency that’s got serious problems,” the Ohio lawmaker said.