Today, Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina objected to giving subpoena powers to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Last week, the House passed this legislation by a vote of 420 to 1. According to Politico:
A spokesman for DeMint said the South Carolina senator himself does not object to giving the commission subpoena power, but was acting on behalf of “members of the Republican conference.”
Giving the bipartisan Commission this critical tool is key to ensuring that it can conduct a complete analysis of the systemic industry and regulatory failures that led to this tragedy and avert future disasters. Subpoena power will ensure the Commission can conduct a complete analysis of the systemic industry and regulatory failures that led to this tragedy and avert future disasters, without being stonewalled by BP or any other entity in its search for answers.
Congress has previously granted subpoena power to commissions investigating national crises, including the Warren Commission following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Three Mile Island Commission following the 1979 incident at the Pennsylvania nuclear power plant.
In objecting to the measure, Senator DeMint and those unnamed “members of the Republican conference” are showing the American people who they really stand for–Big Oil.