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Barton slammed for apology to BP chief for $20 billion oil spill "shakedown" fund. What Barton said. Updates: Biden, Gibbs

| 6 Comments

WASHINGTON--In comments slammed by the White House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) on Thursday apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the $20 billion deal the White House worked out with BP on Wednesday to compensate people whose lives and businesses were ruined by the oil spill.

Vice President Biden, asked about Barton during a White House briefing on the Recovery Act, said Barton was "insensitive" and "out of touch." Said Biden, "There was no shake down."

Asked about other Republicans who called the BP deal part of-and this is a paraphrase---a Socialist plot, White House, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs asked "what world are they living on" and suggesting it is a "delusional thing."

Gibbs is also questioning whether Barton--what with his apology to BP-- should even be the ranking member on the House panel dealing with the BP oil spill disaster.

At the beginning of a House hearing where Hayward was in the hotseat, Barton said:

I'm speaking this totally for myself. I'm not speaking for the
Republican Party. I'm not speaking for anybody in the House of
Representatives but myself, but I'm ashamed of what happened in the
White House yesterday.

I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private
corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a
shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney
general of the United States who is legitimately conducting a criminal
investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of
the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion
slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no
legal standing, and which sets, I think, I terrible precedent for the
future.

If I called you into my office and I had the subcommittee
chairman, Mr. Stupak, with me who was legitimately conducting an
oversight investigation on your company and said, if you put so many
millions of dollars in a project in my congressional district, I could
go to jail and should go to jail.

Now, there is no question that British Petroleum owns this lease.
There is no question that BP -- I'm sorry, it's not British Petroleum
anymore -- that BP made decisions that objective people think
compromised safety. There's no question that BP is liable for the
damages. But we have a due process system where we go through
hearings, in some cases, court cases, litigation and determine what
those damages are when those damages should be paid.

So I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anybody
else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any
time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately
wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in
my words, amounts to a shakedown.

So I apologize. But on this hearing today, I am with Mr. Waxman,
with Mr. Stupak. There are answers that need to be -- questions that
need to be asked that are legitimate because we don't want another oil
spill of this magnitude -- or of any magnitude in the Gulf of Mexico.
And if this subcommittee can do things that make it much more
difficult for this type of an incident to occur in the future, then we
will have done our work for the American people.

6 Comments

I Agree and think he's got big balls to sit there and speak his mind. The Gov't needs to get out of Corporate America ... Tarp was nothing but a joke and did more to hide the fact that most of the banks that got in trouble lost money on Fannie, Freddie and other GOVERNMENT paper!
Do your research - Look at how much Gov's of FHLB or FHLMC get paid! Not 1 makes under $1,000,000 per year OF OUR MONEY for running these org. into the ground!

One MORE reason why I am now an independent and no longer lean to an R.
Barton is a bought & paid for hack or daft if he can't see that an escrow fund allows damages to be paid much quicker than would be paid AFTER the endless legal wrangling. And it ensures that money for damages is in hand - not promised. We need to stop all the anti-BP posturing and spend the effort on constructively stopping the flow and cleaning up with the help of the BP fund (assuming PB actually ponies up the 20B.) D's & R's It's my hope that you see a November to Remember.

It is a shame that his hatred for the president has rendered him shamelessly partisan and stupid. BP owes the American people an apology and should pay for all the damage they have caused.

barton turned my stomach this morning. hate to go personal attack route but this rotund grey greasy (out of touch) fellow needs to retire asap this is not a partisan issue it is an environmental disaster worse even then hurricane katrina.Shame on the clueless buffoon barton.He might actually be more clueless than the figurehead ceo of bp
Perhaps barton would like to compensate everyone that will suffer financially because bp was cutting corners to save money? Not, get that buffoon out of political office and the public eye.Egads barton makes bush look highly intelligent

Considering the way we let Anderson and Union Carbide get away with the Bhopal disaster, Barton would fit perfectly in India politics.

If Barton undermined his superiors like that in the private sector, he'd be out on the street so fast he wouldn't have time to take his head out of his ass. Just shameful.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 17, 2010 1:52 PM.

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