White House Blasts Republican Congressman's Apology to BP
    2010-06-18 01:02:45     Xinhua      Web Editor: Xu Leiying
 
U.S. Republican congressman Joe Barton's apology to British Petroleum, the oil company responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is shameful, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

"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," said the statement.

Barton, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce, apologized to BP for what he said was a "shakedown" by the government of the oil company in forcing it to create an escrow fund for damages.

"I am ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton said during opening remarks at a hearing Thursday at which BP CEO Tony Hayward testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel. "It's unprecedented in our nation's history, it has no legal standing, and it sets a terrible precedent for the future."

After meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, BP announced Wednesday that it would suspend dividend payments for the rest of the year and create a 20-billion-dollar escrow fund for damages.

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

The White House stroke back in the statement, saying that " 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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