Obama Pledges Help to Prevent 'As Much Economic Damage As Possible' After the Oil Spill in the Gulf

From Sunlen Miller:

President Obama said today that the oil spill is an example of a "sudden and costly crisis" that can harm the nation's economy and pledged to "explore every possible option" to create jobs and support local economies in the Gulf.

“We are committed to preventing as much of the economic damage as possible by working to contain the impact of this potentially devastating spill,” the president said today in remarks before The Business Council’s annual meeting, “In addition, wherever possible, I would like to see the people most affected by the disaster in helping in the cleanup.“

The president met last night with 13 members of the 150-member business group at the White House and said today that the economic impacts of the spill were discussed at dinner last evening.

“One of the discussions that we had last night is around the B.P. oil spill, which is going to affect the lives and livelihoods of people all along the Gulf Coast, from the fishing industry to the tourism industry,” Obama said.

Calling it a significant challenge, the president promised that he will continue to “explore every possible option to create jobs and support local economies in the Gulf, while continuing to monitor any potential effects on the national economy.”

Speaking about the broader economic recovery, President Obama said that while it’s been a difficult two years, “the storm is receding, and the skies are brightening” as the economy is growing again.

“By no stretch of the imagination can we declare victory; not until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find work, not until incomes and economic security are actually increasing for middle class families, many who saw their income and wages flatline even during boom times in the '90s and over the last decade -- after the '90s, rather -- and not until we face the weaknesses in our economy that preceded this recession, problems that have been allowed to fester for decades.”

One of those weaknesses – he said – is the financial sector, and again called for broader financial regulatory reform.

“I'm pleased that the filibuster was dropped in the Senate and that members on the other side of the aisle agreed to allow a debate. We expect a vigorous debate with amendments on both sides. But make no mistake: We cannot allow these reforms to be watered down. And for those of you in the financial industry whose companies may be employing lobbyists seeking to weaken this bill, I want to urge you, as I said on Wall Street a couple weeks ago, to join us rather than to fight us.”

-Sunlen Miller

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