Arizona Dems: Obama’s Lying About Border Security

Arizona Dems: Obama’s Lying About Border Security

July 5th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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The Hill:

Anticipating a furor of voter criticism over the July Fourth recess, Democratic lawmakers from the border region shot back at the White House last week, challenging the president’s speech on immigration in which he said that the southern border is secure.

Arizona Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords joined a growing Republican chorus in denouncing President Barack Obama for not pushing for more specific action in his Thursday speech on the nation’s immigration and border security issues.

Obama said that the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years.
But the three Arizona Democrats disagreed.

“The crisis on America’s borders won’t be addressed with words,” said Giffords. “I was disappointed to hear the president give short shrift to border security concerns by saying that our nation’s southern border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years.

“That is not a sign of progress, it is a statement on the poor job we have done in securing the border for the past two decades.”

As their constituents continue to clamor that more must be done to secure the borders, the first- and second-term Arizona Democrats are increasingly bucking their own party’s stance on border security.

All three lawmakers have acknowledged the charged politics behind the border security and immigration debate. And though none of them are likely to lose their seats this November, their races have been listed as some of the most contentious in the region.

“As any politician knows, it is easier to make speeches than it is to make progress, and we need more than talk from the White House and Congress right now,” said Kirkpatrick.

The intra-party criticism comes as the House last week passed the fiscal year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which includes $700 million in border security funds, including $50 million to deploy National Guard troops to the border states.

It also comes in the wake of recent FBI statistics that reveal instances of violent crime along the border to have gone down over the past year. And on Friday, Mexican officials announced that they had arrested two men in connection with the killing earlier this year of a U.S. consulate worker and her husband, according to the Associated Press.

Obama acknowledged this week that more must be done to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, but it should not be a one-pronged approach of militarization, he said.

“There are those who argue that we should not move forward with any other elements of reform until we have fully sealed our borders,” said Obama. “But our borders are just too vast for us to be able to solve the problem only with fences and border patrols. It won’t work. Our borders will not be secure as long as our limited resources are devoted to not only stopping gangs and potential terrorists, but also the hundreds of thousands who attempt to cross each year simply to find work.”

Republicans widely criticized Obama for using a politically charged rhetoric that lacked substantive suggestions to change the nation’s immigration policies.

Mitchell, too, sounded off on the White House following Obama’s speech, saying that both political parties have been guilty of posturing on the issue, yet the border is still not secure and the nation’s immigration system remains broken, especially in Arizona.

“Illegal immigration affects our state more than it does any other,” Mitchell said. “More than half of all illegal crossings over the U.S.-Mexico border happen in Arizona. The federal government has a responsibility to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system, but hasn’t done so, and Arizona continues to shoulder the burden.”

White House Rejects Claim It Skewed Expert Opinion to Justify Drilling Ban

White House Rejects Claim It Skewed Expert Opinion to Justify Drilling Ban

June 11th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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Fox News:

White House energy adviser Carol Browner on Friday rejected accusations from a panel of experts who claim the administration misrepresented their views to justify a six-month ban on offshore drilling in response to the BP oil rig disaster.

The denial came after the experts alleged that the Interior Department modified a report in late May that was used as the basis for the sweeping moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

Though the report claimed the analysts, picked by the National Academy of Engineering, “peer reviewed” the department’s recommendations, the experts say the two paragraphs that called for the moratorium were added only after they signed off on it.

To the contrary, the experts warn that such a moratorium could not only harm the economy but make the situation in the Gulf more dangerous. The April 20 oil rig explosion occurred while the Deepwater Horizon well was being shut down — a move that is much more dangerous than continuing ongoing drilling, they said.

“A blanket moratorium is not the answer,” they wrote in a letter claiming Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar’s report “misrepresents” their position. “A blanket moratorium will have the indirect effect of harming thousands of workers and further impact state and local economies suffering from the spill.”

That’s exactly the argument that Gulf Coast lawmakers and the families of oil rig workers have been making as they fight the administration’s moratorium decision.

“We do not believe that punishing the innocent is the right thing to do. We encourage the secretary of interior to overcome emotion with logic,” the experts wrote.

But while Salazar has acknowledged that the moratorium was his decision, not theirs, Browner argued that the administration did nothing wrong.

“No one’s been deceived or misrepresented,” Browner told Fox News, defending the moratorium as a safety measure. “These experts gave their expert advice, and then a determination was made looking at all of the information, including what these experts provided — that there should be a pause, and that’s exactly what there is. There’s a pause.”

The experts claimed the draft report that they looked at called for a six-month freeze on permits for new exploratory wells 1,000 feet or deeper and a “temporary pause” on current drilling.

Somehow, that was changed to call for a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an “immediate halt” to drilling operations on 33 permitted wells.

“None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report,” oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. “What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation.”

The experts also faxed a memo to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to clarify that they do not believe the report justifies the moratorium.

They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years.

They said the best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation’s coastal waters.

Fox News’ William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.