by David Safier
Obama managed to get a $20 billion escrow account set aside by BP so that claims can be paid quickly without endless delays.
Republicans called it a Chicago style shakedown, a phrase that was repeated by Joe Barton (R-TX) at today's committee hearing.
The DNC response:
Reaction to Republicans apologizing to BP for $20 billion accountability escrow account
Amazingly, despite the devastation in the Gulf caused by the recklessness of BP, Republicans across the board have excoriated the President for holding BP accountable to the families and small business of the Gulf by ensuring that they pay $20 billion to an accountability escrow fund. This morning, Republican Congressman Joe Barton, the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, took the astonishing step of APOLOGIZING TO BP and BP CEO TONY HAYWARD. Please see below for reaction from DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan:
“While the President has worked to ensure that BP is held fully accountable to the families and small businesses of the Gulf, Republicans and Joe Barton are proving that they are only accountable to BP and the oil industry. While the President has secured a guarantee of at least $20 billion for Gulf Coast residents, Republicans and Joe Barton have lined their pockets with BP contributions. While the President has gotten BP to rightfully apologize to the American people for their reckless behavior, their inexcusable response and their insulting approach, Republicans are apologizing to BP. Republicans could not have this more backward, and it raises serious questions as to why they are on the side of BP and the oil companies instead of that of the American people. The only people Republicans and Joe Barton should be apologizing to are the people of the Gulf who they’ve turned their backs on to defend BP.”
Joe Barton (R-TX):
“I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy in 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 American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation's future.
"I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize," Barton added. "I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown."