Senate panel approves creation of competing spill commission

Senate panel approves creation of competing spill commission

A key Senate panel delivered a rebuke to President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Forget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE Wednesday in approving the creation of a bipartisan oil spill commission that would effectively compete with his own.
 
Five Democrats joined all 10 Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in agreeing to create a new bipartisan panel whose members would mostly be appointed by Congress.
 

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The proposal — offered by Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoIf Democrats want gun control, they must first concede defeat Conway: Republican concerns about gun reform 'all reconcilable' Five proposals Congress is eyeing after mass shootings MORE (R-Wyo.) — would establish a commission of 10 whose members would be appointed equally by the two parties, with Obama naming the chair and congressional leaders selecting the vice chair and the remaining eight members. The commission would have subpoena power, which the Obama-appointed panel does not.
 
Barrasso said the newly proposed commission — which he said is modeled after the 9/11 Commission — is needed to provide a “truly unbiased bipartisan review” of offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill. Obama’s commission “appears to me to be stacked with people philosophically opposed to offshore drilling,” Barrasso said.
 
In particular, Republicans have criticized the selection of Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, a leading critic of offshore drilling.
 
But some Democrats raised concerns as well.
 

“I would suggest to my Democratic friends that if the shoe were on the other foot, and President Bush was the president and he had submitted a list of names like this to us and everyone was related to the defense of oil companies, we would say this is not fair,” Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world MORE (D-La.) said. “And I’m saying to my colleagues this is not fair.”
 
Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel MORE (D-N.H.) added, “If there are questions about the views of the presidential commission … then I would err on the side in saying let’s get another point of view on the issue.”
 
Obama by executive order on May 21 established a commission co-chaired by former Florida Sen. Bob Graham (D) and William Reilly, a Republican who headed EPA under former President George H.W. Bush, called the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
 
The administration has put a stop to deepwater offshore oil-and-gas drilling while the commission develops recommendations, which Reilly has suggested the commission may not finish until next year.
 
Barrasso’s amendment mandates that a new commission has 180 days to develop its recommendations.