Now that Joe Barton is quickly backing off his “apology” for BP because our mean ol’ President asked the oil company to pay for the damage it caused, and other Republicans are hastily backing away from Barton, let’s not forget that Barton wasn’t alone. The wingnut-and-Tea-Party-friendly House Republican Conference, which counts a majority of House Republicans as members, had said more or less the same thing (minus the apology) the day before. Here’s the full text of the press release.
Washington, Jun 16 – Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) issued the following statement after the White House announced it had reached a deal with BP to require the oil company to place $20 billion into an escrow fund to pay claims filed against the company in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.
“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.”
So demanding to be sued, rather than doing the right thing before a judge tells you to, is a “fundamental American principle”? And a President who asks a private company to do the right thing is practicing “shakedown politics.” Try again, fellas.