BP Apologist Barton Walks Back His ‘Shakedown’ Attack, But NOT Republican Caucus
June 17, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Big oil apologist Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) tried to walk back his stunning public apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward, during a House panel hearing this morning. Barton groveled before BP, a foreign corporation responsible for one of the largest ecological disasters in our nation’s history, attacking the victims’ compensation fund, as a “slush fund” saying he was “ashamed” of the White House’s “$20 billion shakedown” of a private corporation. Barton prefers that the American taxpayers pay for the Gulf oil disaster and not his big oil masters. He prefers that the Gulf Coast victims suffer for years, waiting to be compensated through the court system.
This afternoon, after intense pressure from GOP party leaders, Barton offered a lame non-apology, saying he was sorry for his “misconstrued misconstruction.” The Texas Republican later issued a written apology for his BP apology, “to apologize for using the term ‘shakedown”’ “I retract my apology to BP,” said Barton. But will the 100-strong House Republican Study Committee, led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) also retract its denunciation of the $20 billion BP escrow fund, as a “Chicago-style shakedown?”
The Republicans’ complete lack of understanding of the environmental catastrophe caused by BP’s negligence and lack of compassion for the suffering of the victims of the Gulf Coast disaster, as well as the families of the 11 dead oil rig workers, is just SHOCKING.
Since Obama’s success on Wednesday, in convincing BP to set aside $20 billion for an escrow fund to compensate the victims of the Gulf oil disaster, GOP lawmakers, together with the right-wing media machine, have attacked the victims’ compensation fund as a “slush fund.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declared that the escrow fund was a socialist “redistribution-of-wealth fund.”
But perhaps more shocking, is the statement released by the House Republican Study Committee:
“We all agree that BP should be held fully responsible for its complicity in the oil tragedy in the Gulf,” said Chairman Price. “In fact, BP has already begun paying claims. Any attempt by the company to sidestep that responsibility should be met with the strongest legal recourses available. However, in an administration that appears not to respect fundamental American principles, it is important to note that there is no legal authority for the President to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account.”
“BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.”
Will every right-wing member of the Republican Study Committee also apologize for using the term “shakedown” to describe a victims’ compensation fund?
Will they apologize for siding with a foreign corporation responsible for causing an environmental and economic disaster, instead of America?
Don’t hold your breath.
Barton has taken more than $1.4 million from the oil and gas industry, since 1990. And since 2009, he has received $100,470 from big oil interests to fund his campaign war chest.