First a major Republican, Tex. Rep. Joe Barton, publicly apologized to BP because President Obama forced them to set up an escrow account to pay for the massive destruction they are causing the USA. Then a bunch of other Republicans chimed in, including Tea Partiers, to defend BP and attack the president. Then they seemed to realize how bad they looked, how owned by the oil companies they looked, so they made Barton apologize. But what is wrong with these people? How clueless do you have to be to apologize to BP and attack the president for demanding BP's accountability in the first place? The Republican party has gone insane.
Republican forced to apologize for BP apology
Texas' Barton called deal with Obama a 'shakedown, isn't alone in GOP
WASHINGTON — A Texas Republican's apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward that the company had to agree to a $20 billion fund for oil spill damage claims nearly cost him a key House committee position on Thursday.
Rep. Joe Barton was forced to recant by House minority leaders outraged at the vision of an American lawmaker apologizing at a congressional hearing to a foreign head of a corporation that had caused great hardships for millions of Gulf Coast residents.
"I'm speaking totally for myself, I'm not speaking for the Republican party ... but I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton had told Hayward during opening statements before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on investigations.
He called it "a tragedy of the first proportion, that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, a $20 billion shakedown."
But Barton is not alone among Republicans on his initial statement.
At the hearing Thursday, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, returned to the propriety of the $20 billion escrow fund: "I have serious questions about the setup of this fund."
Another member of the GOP leadership, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, used the same "shakedown" language Wednesday in describing the escrow fund.
"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," Price said in a statement.
He said the White House does not have the legal authority to compel a private company to set up and fund an escrow account.
"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," Price said.
Former Texas Rep. Dick Armey, a leading voice in the conservative Tea Party movement, told a Christian Science Monitor breakfast this week that Obama lacks the constitutional authority to set up such a fund.
"The Constitution doesn't give that authority to the executive branch.... There are courts for this purpose," Armey said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
In addition, conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was quoted as telling the Heritage Foundation think tank Tuesday that the escrow account was a "redistribution-of-wealth fund."
"And now it appears like we'll be looking at one more gateway for more government control, more money to government," she said, according to the Minnesota Independent.
Big Oil contributions
Barton is the biggest recipient of oil and gas industry campaign contributions in the House of Representatives, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.