Melancon and his democratic supporters are claiming that his amendment to legislation that passed the House of Representatives on Friday was good enough to stop the Gulf Of Mexico deep water drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama and Interior Secretary Carlos Salazar.
Yet, David Vitter and his republican backers see the “big legislative play” otherwise and are playing hardball by pounding home the message that House democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and gang threw a fast one past Melancon who sponsored the House legislation which now makes it way to the US Senate before Congress is convened for a heavy dose of electioneering.
Ever since the now controversial Friday vote, emails spitballs from Vitter, Melancon, and others have been flying across the field loaded with venom and full of allegations of missed chances and of political demagoguery.
Which makes one wonder if our key elected officials really want to stop the moratorium at all or whether party politics is really the main game in the screwball Washington DC town.
The GOP is pitching that Melancon missed the chance to knock the moratorium ball out of the park.
In an email knucklers, Senator Vitter said “150 thousand jobs were at stake” with Melancon’s bill the republican says has failed the people, and the Louisiana GOP claimed, “ Melancon Votes Against Lifting Moratorium”-- just for starters.
And in fierce competition for the rhetoric, Melancon’s election campaign went swinging for the fences by stating, “Is there a better example of why Washington is broken than David Vitter putting politics before Louisiana on ending the offshore drilling moratorium?”Not that the legislation Melancon touts is a clear shutout.
For one, the democratic congressman attempted to pass compromise wording from Oil and Gas Industry but his republican critics who were slamming him from the bleachers balked at the wording of the amendment. Now, Melancon and supporters, despite that language defeat are promoting his moratorium amendment as being air-tight.
Plus, a critical Amendment Clause titled the “Savings Clause” which distinguishes Melancon’s moratorium amendment from that of Vitter’s might not save the bill’s momentum. The congressman claims that clause is harmless and basically perfunctory. His opposition, however, retorts that it is the very language that essentially codifies Interior Secretary Salazar’s right to declare the moratorium in the first place.
So, with only days left before Congress vacations, oil industry families are looking at the hot dog-day summer weeks smoldering their hopes and smothering their faith. Innocent oil operators are looking at their options whether to stay or leave as their businesses are risking failures. The Louisiana coffers are becoming dryer by the moment as state revenues hit hard by the BP spill with a moratorium double whammy are causing state leaders to wonder if the budget is beyond recovery.
Time is a-running. With the future of so many on the line, it is time for our elected officials to put politics aside and play ball. It is time for a real hero to emerge who can effectively work with all parties to solve this critical problem rather than trying to curry favor among voters.
Now, that the legislation has passed the House, attention falls to the US Senate with Senator Vitter now at the batter’s box to show he can hit the four-bagger that will get the approval of his political opposition and ultimately of the head umpire, President Obama.
The moratorium is not a game to be played by candidates or political parties to gain momentum for the election world series in November.
If our government leaders prefer the sport of politics instead of statesmanship and diplomacy, Louisiana families and industries will find absolutely no joy as their futures become even that much more muddied.
by Stephen Sabludowsky, J.D.
Publsiher of Bayoubuzz.com