Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rep Joe Barton, America's Friend

A Texas congressman is under fire for accusing the White House of engaging in what he called a "$20 billion shakedown" -- requiring BP to establish a fund to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican, apologized to the oil giant's CEO, Tony Hayward, on Thursday morning during a congressional hearing into the April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers, unleashed a flood of oil that has yet to be stemmed and has been widely called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

"I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation would be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown -- in this case a $20 billion shakedown," Barton said.

"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," the 13-term congressman said. "That… amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize."
Take that, Small People! BP shouldn't have to pay to fix this any more than I should have to pay someone if I accidentally drive my car into their living room.

To their credit most Republican lawmakers are distancing themselves from this position. Actually I'd credit their survival instinct in this case, but at least they're willing to go public. Even Boehner!

I have said since the beginning that BP ought to be held responsible for every dime of this tragedy... And they ought to be held accountable to stop the leak and get it cleaned up as soon as possible.
Democrats and the White House, of course, have been twittering away about this all morning. And someone in Texas is cutting together politcal ads right now that consist enitrely of footage of Barton apologizing to BP, leaving a place blank for whoever will be running against the guy the November.

By the way, persuading BP to commit a sum of money without a cap and without passing a regulation, avoiding a twenty year court battle like the Exxon Valdez situation... isn't this exactly the best-case scenario that Republicans would want out of this situation? Well boys?

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