White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said famously that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Which is why House Republicans began pounding President Obama Tuesday for trying to utilize the crisis in the Gulf as an opportunity to approve an energy and climate bill that’s now stalled in the Senate.

“The president is trying to exploit this disaster to pass his national energy tax,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). “Stop exploiting this disaster to pass this cap and trade tax.”

“Cap and trade” is a moniker used mostly by Republicans to refer to a climate measure the House approved last year. The legislation would “cap” the amount of pollutants firms could emit. However, firms could pollute more by trading for “credits” with other polluters. Many Republicans decry the policy as a “national energy tax.”

Mr. Obama is expected to ask Congress to approve climate legislation when he speaks to the nation from the Oval Office tonight after a two-day trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

“To exploit this crisis to resurrect his climate change legislation is just wrong,” said House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN). “ People expect the administration not to use this incident to advance their liberal agenda.”

A few Republicans joined Democrats to pass the climate bill in the House a year ago. But the legislation is stymied in the Senate. Many moderate Democrats fear the bill could hurt jobs in the energy sector and along in the Gulf Coast.