Fellow Republicans Rebuke Barton for Calling $20B Relief Fund a White House 'Shakedown'
Published June 17, 2010
Republicans have strongly rebuked one of their own, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, for accusing the White House of engaging in what he called a "$20 billion shakedown" of BP, with one lawmaker calling on Barton to resign his leadership position on a powerful committee.
Barton had complained at a hearing earlier Thursday that the Obama administration was forcing BP to set up a $20 billion "slush fund" for oil spill victims. Barton said he was ashamed of the White House's actions -- and he apologized to BP.
The comments got no backing from his fellow Republicans.
"Congressman Barton's statements this morning were wrong," House GOP leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence said in a written statement. "BP itself has acknowledged that responsibility for the economic damages lies with them and has offered an initial pledge of $20 billion dollars for that purpose."
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said he was "shocked" by Barton's "reprehensible comments that the government should apologize for the 'shakedown' of BP."
"I condemn Mr. Barton's statement," Miller said in a written statement. "Mr. Barton's remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership position on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He should step down as ranking member of the committee."
The unusual intraparty rebuke came after Barton issued an apology of sorts about his apology to BP -- then retracted that apology.
"I apologize for using the term 'shakedown'...and I retract my apology to BP," he said, adding that his remarks had been "misconstrued."
"I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident," he said.
On Wednesday, President Obama announced that BP had agreed to set up a $20 billion relief fund that will be led by the administration's "pay czar," Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the $7 billion government fund for families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The use of the BP escrow fund is intended to avoid a repeat of the painful aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, when the fight over money dragged out in courts for roughly two decades
It's great to see that FOX News is able to report this story properly. Rep. Barton made a mistake and his fellow Republicans took him to task for it.
JOHN has pointed out FOX News stories many times and I have to admit that they do report the news pretty well most of the time.
The talking heads that give opinions on FOX like Glen Beck and partial term Former Governor Sarah Palin don't have the same intergrity as FOX News itself. But, we shouldn't expect them to. After all they are just paid entertainers.