WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said Democratic leaders are more concerned about getting TV time than dealing with the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's so frustrating to many Louisianans that while the crisis actually continues in the Gulf -- while we're still fighting to contain the well -- Washington Democratic committee chairmen have rushed to create media events for television cameras instead of devoting full attention to stopping the immediate problem," Vitter said Saturday in the weekly Republican radio and Internet address.
He said committee hearings should come after the well has been capped, not before.
"Folks closer to the scene understand that," he said. "We want 100 percent of the attention of all parties focused on our two most immediate problems: stopping the gushing oil and protecting our coastlines and marshes from the oil."
Vitter said the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, which killed 11 people, and the continuing gushing of oil do not justify an end to offshore drilling.
The senator said some lawmakers had tried to "seize on this real human tragedy in the gulf to advocate for a radical new energy agenda."
"Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to decrease our foreign dependence on oil, but ending all domestic energy production offshore would only make us that much more dependent. And this false choice on how to proceed in the future of energy exploration in the wake of a terrible accident contributes little to the debate."