It's much easier to point to places where President Donald Trump's agenda diverges from Barack Obama's, but the president's newly submitted budget has one similarity.
Trump's team proposes raiding the offshore oil revenue that Louisiana fought for and won in 2006, just as Obama wanted to do. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, the Mary Landrieu-quarterbacked measure to secure a portion of deepwater drilling royalties for badly needed coastal restoration, is expected to provide $420 million to the state over the next three years, and another $36 million to directly to coastal parishes each year.
This is a big deal, even if the prospect of Trump's budget surviving Congress intact is no better than it was under Obama. It's also a bit of a surprise given that the states that benefit from GOMESA — Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi — all went for Trump, and that the money is targeted for coastal restoration, just the type of infrastructure investment that the president has touted. You can bet that Vice President Mike Pence, who happened to headed to Baton Rouge Wednesday, got an earful on the subject during his trip.
Republicans representing Louisiana in Congress were quick to blast Obama when he made the proposal, and to their credit, they're presenting a united front with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards again, despite the friendly face in the White House.
President Donald Trump's proposed budget would deal a huge blow to Louisiana's program for p…
Longer term, though, their bigger concern might be their own peers in Congress. GOMESA benefits just four states, which means that representatives from the other 46 have every reason to eye it with envy. That's one reason its initial passage was so impressive.
Landrieu, a Democrat who served three terms in Washington, considered GOMESA her proudest moment in Senate, but it wasn't enough to save her job in 2014. Still, the Republican who beat her, Bill Cassidy, quickly picked up the mantle once Obama threatened the revenue stream. Tuesday, he called the latest proposed money grab a "deal breaker" and said he'd "not only oppose cuts to the revenue sharing program, but continue to work to expand it for the Gulf Coast." Others in the delegation echoed the sentiment, including Garret Graves, who headed the state's coastal restoration efforts before winning his seat in Congress.
You don't see nearly as much bipartisanship in Louisiana these days as you used to, this is one area where keeping it up is vital. After all, there's nothing Republican or Democratic about the forces ravaging the state's coast.