During the last few months, I have forcefully spoken against the ill-conceived deepwater drilling moratorium and explained how it hurts our families, small businesses and our economy. The BP oil spill was a horrible accident that should have never happened, but the subsequent moratorium is just as, if not more, devastating. I’ve shared the ramifications of this short-sighted moratorium across the airwaves, held hearings to gather evidence of the moratorium’s damaging effects, suggested changes to offshore drilling practices and led our congressional delegation to make the case to the Obama administration. Unfortunately, the president has not heeded these concerns and not taken action. So, yesterday, I did.
I informed the Senate leadership and the White House that I will block the president’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, until the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling is lifted or significantly modified, and the issuance of shallow water permits is accelerated. Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President's most important economic advisers, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast.