By Molly K. Hooper - 06/11/10 12:34 AM EDT
House GOP leader John Boehner (Ohio) is ripping congressional hearings into the BP oil spill.
“This is Congress at its best,” said Boehner at the beginning of a rant on the dozens of House and Senate hearings on the oil spill.
At least four hearings on the spill were planned for Thursday, and another five were held on Wednesday. Those were in addition to the more than 20 hearings held since May 11 in the House and Senate.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), who launched a seven-part series of oversight hearings on the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf Coast, disagreed “with every bit” of Boehner’s contention.
“How the hell are we going to figure out what happened unless we ask questions?” Rahall said in an interview with The Hill.
“The more investigations, the more questions asked, maybe we’ll find the right answer, is that what he’s afraid of?” Rahall exclaimed.
And they will have plenty of time to do so next week when the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds three hearings, one of which will include an appearance by BP CEO Tony Hayward, titled, “The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called the hearings “very useful to find out how this happened.”
Not all Democrats agree, however.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said that the hearings served only to “showboat.”
“[The hearings] are useful for politicians. They are not useful for solutions because everybody wants to showboat,” Hastings said.
Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas), the top-ranking Republican on the Energy panel’s Oversight and Investigation subcommittee, asked, "For the regulations going forward: do you require a reliever well to be drilled at the same time as the main well if you are going down below a certain depth? I don’t know the answer to that and we’re not having any hearings on that kind of activity, but we’re going to be making the decisions about that kind of thing."
Burgess added that his colleagues are rushing to produce legislation.
The House is expected to act on an oil spill measure after the July 4 recess.
This story was originally posted at 11:33 a.m. and updated at 8:34 p.m.