June 17th, 2010
12:02 PM ET

White House slams lawmaker for 'shakedown' comment

The White House slammed Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton on Thursday for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward after characterizing the company's agreement to establish a $20 billion escrow fund for victims of the Gulf oil disaster as an administration "shakedown" and a "tragedy."

"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

"Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a 'tragedy,' but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill politics
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. chiquelets

    Henry Waxman is a moron. His histrionics r strictly political...an effort to hide the disgraceful response by the Obama Administration. Hey Henry, how come you folks refused the help of 13 countries just a few days after the explosion?
    Obama really believed that BP had everything under control? This is typical Congressional "it;s someone else's fault" yah yah. Fix the problem, Dude, and stop harping. BTW...what have u done lately to help?

    June 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Menachem Ben Yakov

    Obama supporters claim that the President is not responsible for the Gulf oil spill and that is true. However it should be obvious, and I hope Republicans are listening, that when Obama announced last March the opening up of new offshore drilling it was done without any due diligence. A thorough safety review of existing offshore platforms should have been done prior to the Presidents announcement. That review would have brought the problems on the BP rig to light and corrective procedures could have been taken. Once again the lack of managerial experience and the concept that any idea the President has is, ipso facto, a good idea , has caused the greatest environmental disaster in US history. Should BP be held accountable? Of course. Should the President be held accountable for not protecting the public? The answer is just as obvious.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Indiayque

    GOP Rep. Barton, ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, thinks it is acceptable to pander to BP after they have caused the biggest environmental disaster in the U.S. and destroyed a whole region of the U.S.? All legislators all should be on the side of the people – but that is not the case. Here is a perfect example of a legislator bought and sold by the oil industry. These kind of legislators are the obstructionists who get in the way of "fixing the problem".

    June 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Elaine

    I would be interested in seeing Mr. Barton's financial portfolio...HIS inexcusable commentary clearly indicates where HIS heart is (if he even HAS one). Mr. Barton is just the latest example of oil companies in the pockets of a politician in Washington. For him to "side" with BP in this debacle and to basically thumb his nose at the people affected by this disaster for now and for decades to come is what is unbelieveable. To the people of Texas that this man "representes", PAY ATTENTION and VOTE THIS MAN OUT OF OFFICE. He DOES NOT represent YOU.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • mia

      I live in his district and I am absolutely disguted and embarassed. How can one jack*** be so partisan as to insult an entire region of hardworking citizens?

      June 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vixil

    It seems that the political line, with regard to BP/AOI has been non distinguishable for quite some time.


    Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ardis Selland

    Barton, the obstructionist, should be kicked off the committee on Energy & Commerce, as he's admittedly BIASED
    and not representative of 'the people' – – – just another REPUBLICAN use of their "NO" phylosophy against the
    current administration, no matter how ignorantly wrong they are!!!!!

    June 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Vixil

    Tanker truck overturns and bursts into flames
    June 17, 12:04 AMSan Diego Headlines Examiner

    June 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Charlie

    Guess who's not getting re elected. Speaking as a gulf coast resident of TEXAS i'm asking for Joe's resignation. Evidently he has his hands dipped in BP oil and is showing his colors.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      I totally agree!!
      When the so called"due process" doesn't provide help in a hurry to people that are going hungry and bills going unpaid because of this oil spill the goverment HAS to put something in place like the 20B compensation i think the moron needs to get his big butt to the states suffering this and have to stay and help clean up and live like these people are now thats there... or better yet...go his big butt there and hand out some of HIS money to feed these families that dont have money because there lives and resources have been taking away!!

      June 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NanoSongs

    Joe Barton just hung himself.

    The 20 billion fund was the best PR move BP could have made. In the end, this will cost many times that, and BP's 20 bill will only pay a small portion.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • FortheWhiners

      It never occurs for those whining about "Big Oil" in reference to BP's problems that the President deliberately eschewed all responses in order to magnify BP's eventual cost in the gulf.
      This is far worse than Katrina, where you had liberal governors not allowing the Federal government to assist them and here you have the total reverse where the governor's ask for help and not getting any response from the idiot in charge in the White House for just over a month.

      It was the governments responsibility to oversee the deep water rigs – they did not.
      It was the governments job to provide whatever assistance they could immediately when asked for – they did not.
      The response from the White House was not to provide help but to stop all deep water drilling, shakedown BP, and still offer nothing to help the governor's who have asked for it for the last month.


      June 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      Far worse than Katrina? Where is your heart? Thousands of people DIED in Katrina!!!! Oh, I see, you put money before people's lives. I am ashamed of you; I will have to pray for you soul.

      June 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vixil

    Does BP/AOI also have an interest in Border Security?

    Ref: immigrationstanc.diggersrealm.com

    Representative Joe Barton has had an outstanding record when it comes to border security. There are currently at least 12 million (with estimates reaching as high as 30 million) illegal aliens in this country. The first line of defense is controlling our porous borders. Representative Joe Barton clearly wants to secure our borders and the votes show that.

    June 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe Y

    Amazing how quickly the White House reacts when it's to their advantage to do so isn't? Too bad they don't feel that way about the oil spill. You think I'm kidding? Just compare the passion and tone of the WH about this compared to that they show about the oil spill.

    If the Dutch offered help to deal with the Republicans, how long do you think it would take Obama to say, "YES you can!" About 45 seconds, I'd say.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James

    I have been trouble shooting the possibilities on what needs to be done about the oil spill. There is no reversing the situation. However, diluting the situation will make it less of an impact and allow the plans to clean up the spill easier. The United states has a resource that is extremely valuable. We have enough water dammed upstream from the east coast to the far wast that would run straight into the gulf, cool it off, push the oil back, and dilute it. It is time to open up our dams, full throttle, as much as possible. It will generate energy, clean up the rivers, lakes and tributaries. It will lower the temperature of the gulf decreasing the chance of a hurricane, and it will take off at least 50% of the impact this spills effect. Some one look into this, my calculations show it will work better than we imagine.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Opening the dams would create even more problems inland. The stretch of the Missouri between Yankton SD and St. Louis is just four or five feet shy of flood stage and will be for the forseeable future. The Midwest has gotten almost double the average amount of rainfall for the year and the six dams on the Missouri are all at 100% capacity or overflowing into spillways. Releasing all that water would literally wash away hundreds of thousands of homes in the region.

      June 18, 2010 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Inigo2

    I think the point is that any money from BP should be awarded via the courts or directly from BP, not redistributed by some Federal Money Fairy. The way this 'fund' was created is eerily similar to the Rainbow/PUSH coalition shaking down some company that is perceived to have offended someone. "Give us the cash, and there won't be any trouble." BP should either have set up this fund on their own, and appointed someone from outside the government, or just let the courts do the work.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      @Inigo2: In theory, you are right. But court ruling takes months if not years. It took Exxon like 5 years before any money was paid out; and Exxon fought at every step to lower its liability. I am pretty sure a lot of businesses affected by the oil spill will have folded already if they have to wait 5 years.

      June 17, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Listen2U

    Americans rule nto corporations. No shake down. Our President is looking out for the Americans that have had their livelihood taken from them overnigh. The ability of Americans in the Gullf region to feed, house, cloth and provide for their families has been taken away. How cruel to tell American citizens to wait for this case to go to trial which could take years. We are Americans of the United States of America. We have been invaded by corporate greed in the form of mega takeovers, bogus hedge funds, inflated real estate market, and gambling with hard working Americans life savings all of which almost bought The United States of America to financial and world order ruin. Let us not forget. BP has also shown us a another type of corporate greed that we as Americans have known about for decades; Profits vs Safety. That is why OSHA was established. We cannot continue to be divided. We must demand It must be good for the United States of America and it American people. As Abraham Lincoln stated; "United we stand, divided we fall." We are facing an invasion of oil and gas in our sea coasts and on our land. We are also being invaded by the invasion of corporations in our government and in our lives. Since when does hellping your American citizens who put you in office called a shakedown?

    June 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don B

    Do we really have to depend on idiots like J.B. to make intelligent decisions for us, the real american citizens. The nerve of the jerk to insinuate that the 20 billion was a SLUSH FUND for the people whose lives were completely ruined , industries shut down, and the enviroment completely destroyed is really a slap in the face to the people who are affected. To apologize to someone whose company was completely responsible due to GREED and NEGLIGENCE, and believed that they were exempt from safety inspections, J.B. you are a JOKE. What kind of apology are you going to come with when the tally far exceeds 100 billion. I believe that when you made this decision, that you were bent over with your head buried far between your knees, if you know what I mean. Step, down, and do the country a favor. (BY the way, how many thousands of dollars for your campaign was paid to your campaign fund. We need to weed out all of these members of congress that can be bought. J.B. YOU DO NOTHING BUT TAKE UP SPACE, GET OUT!!!!!

    June 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
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