U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following statement Wednesday regarding Senate consideration of a responsible approach to addressing the oil spill:
"It's now perfectly obvious that Democrats are doing their best to keep us from passing a serious energy bill before the August recess.
"Later today, we expect the Majority Leader to offer the Democrat alternative to the oil spill response bill that Republicans proposed last week. This is not a serious exercise.
"All indications are that they don't intend to have a real debate about one of the most important issues we face. Anybody who's been around here for any period of time knows energy bills take at least a couple of weeks.
"So it doesn't appear that there's either time or willingness on the other side to debate this critical issue.
"We would have liked to have had a debate on ideas we've already offered.
"Our energy bill would give the President the ability to raise the liability caps on economic damages done by companies like BP -- without driving small independent oil producers out of business. It would lift the administration's job-killing moratorium on off-shore drilling as soon as new safety standards are met -- a moratorium that one senior Gulf State Democrat has said `Could cost more jobs than the oil spill itself.'
"I mean, how can you have a serious energy debate without addressing a problem that a leading Gulf State Democrat says is costing more jobs than the spill itself?
"Our bill has a true bipartisan commission -- with subpoena power -- to investigate the oil spill, rather than the President's anti-drilling commission.
"Importantly, it also takes good ideas from Democrats, including Senator Bingaman's idea for much needed reform at MMS. Surely we can all agree that this administration's oversight at MMS is in need of major reform.
"Our bill includes revenue sharing for coastal states that allow offshore drilling to help them prepare for and deal with disasters like the one we have right now in the Gulf.
"So we've got our own ideas. We've got some of their ideas. Our bill doesn't kill jobs. It doesn't put a moratorium on production. We're not interested in yet another debate about a Democrat bill in which the prerequisite is killing more jobs.
"Our bill would address this crisis at hand. Their bill would use the crisis to stifle business and kill jobs in a region that's in desperate need of jobs. It was my hope that we could have a real debate about energy.
"Clearly, the Majority isn't interested in that debate."