June 17th, 2010
11:56 AM ET
5 years ago

White House responds to lawmakers comments on 'slush fund'

Washington (CNN) - The White House hit back hard at Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s comments Thursday that he is “ashamed” of how the White House has treated BP.

“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.”


Filed under: Joe Barton • Obama administration • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Paul from Phoenix

    The real tragedy is the way Obama and his cronies are destroying America. Geez, I didn't think it could be any worse then the last 8 years, but low and behold!

    Hey, maybe Obama should create a slush fund for me.

    June 17, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. luis rojas

    i wonder if any of you people who are calling the 20 billion escrow a shake down live in the gulf coast. are you fishermen, buisness owners or own homes down there. its easy to criticize when your in an erea that doesnt have to deal with the problem. and if bp couldnt pay for it and we had to fit the bill, then we be hearing how this president just keeps on spending money we dont have. learn to hide your hate better.

    June 17, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    But the thing is, the morons in his district keep voting for him. He is obvoiusly deep in the pockets of the oil companies. One can only ask, "Is there intelligent life in his district?"

    June 17, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Rob

    Spill, baby, spill!

    Republicans suck!

    June 17, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Pat

    Maybe Rep. Barton would rather have the good people of TX pay for this oil catastrophe? Or maybe just the folks in Mr. Barton's district???

    June 17, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. stew8649

    The congressman is upset that there is 20 billion dollars less to line the pockets of him and his fellow republicans.

    June 17, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Ikie

    Michele Bachmann said the same thing to John King, she feels that the Government want to take over the oil industry and was defending them. After this spill I am sure anyone who loves oil should rethink of its environmental dangers especially when the oil industry does not have clean up tools.

    It also seems that the GOP have made their position clear, big Companies first, Small Government so that more funds cam come to them when they campaign. It seems the entire idea is if Government is small, they are fewer people for Big Companies to pay up when they run for elections.

    June 17, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. B

    We would not have even found ourselves in this situation if the Republicans had not DEREGULATED everything under the sun.

    It all started with Reagan, and allowed self policing of absolutely everything from banking, housing, to food and drug control.

    This is the price you pay for no controls or balance in society.

    June 17, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Norman Harris

    Maybe the hearing should be halted til they can find people with the answers to the questions not just MORE EXCUSES

    June 17, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Cindy

    I agree that BP should have to pay but you on this board who think this is a Texas, Republican oil thing or something more to blame Bush on should google who BP is connected to. There aren't many clowns in Washington, including our president that haven't taken money from BP. We should all demand that they give it back and put in that damn fund as well. Barton is going to be used now from the left when we should all be angry at all of them!!!! Stop this crap of left vs right and do your jobs!!!!

    June 17, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Who Cares?

    Barton seriously just gave the biggest gift to Democrats that I can think of.

    June 17, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. 2PACOLYPSENOW

    Anybody who would agree with this clown and his assessment of BP being "shookdown" is not only unpatriotic and unamerican, but needs to be deported out of here. 20 Billion isn't even close. They should have been made to put at least 100 billion in that fund along with the Federal Government putting 50 billion themselves to the fund for their inept incompetence (MMS and the Department of Interior) in regulating (lack there of) the industry and allowing themselves to be bought off like some cheap tricks walking block to block. The Feds share just as much liability as BP does and they both should be contributing to that fund. Those monies will never bring back those lives lost or repair the grief the families of those lost rig workers, or the one's who were injured are going through. Barton should be forced to resign or reprimanded by his colleagues for such an asenine statement. Typical GOP. The DEMS need to roll out a documentary of nothing but GOP nonsense spliced together to show what a bunch of losers we are allowing to govern us.

    June 17, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. AR

    It's funny how during an economic crisis the government thinks the best thing to do is to destroy the business sector... And they wonder why there are no jobs.

    When was the last time the government created a productive job? Never!

    Government needs to stop trying to CHOKE our economy. The class-war against business is stupid and people are finally starting to realize that, as reflected by Obama's plummeting approval ratings.

    June 17, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. TTBALA

    To all of you Republicans specially (John PA) and (J Russ),
    Where is in our constitution say that a foreign company can come and rip the lives off of our citizens and not be liable to pay for damages you idiot, if you want to criticize the President or the Dems go ahead, but do it in an intelligent way not through stupidity, and you John PA, what is your hang-up about TeleprompTer, didn't you STUPID Bush use it, why are you people such hypocrites, three terrorist attack's in USA under OBAMA, you Idiot, do you really are so stupid to complain about OBAMA when your beloved Bush and Cheny ripped the lives and hearts out of thousand people in this country because of their idiocy, you two should just shut up if you cant say anything intelligent.

    June 17, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. AR

    Corporations contribute more money to the economy in one year than government has since the foundation of this country. Every penny of wealth that exists, exists because of business corporations.

    I don't quite get this liberal obsession with trashing "corporations". Every American with an honest (read- not government-subsidized) job works for a corporation. So let's cut the garbage and stop pretending that you stand for the "little guy" when what you really stand for is complete government control over every facet of our personal lives.

    June 17, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Dave

    Two tragedies, but the main one for this country is hope of 2008 fading away into a president who is mediocre at best...

    June 17, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. A.B.

    What is truely shameful is the stupid comment that Joe Barton made concerning the escrow account funds. This guy has shown his true colors and where his loyalties are–with the oil companies and not with the American people!! His constituents should remember this incident the next time Barton comes up for re-election.

    June 17, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Mesa Mick

    Here it is folks, and I'm proud to say it...

    Anybody that thinks BP is being extorted, defends that oil company hack Barton's comments or believes the right wing spin doctors that our government is standing around with their heads stuck up their butts is truly and without question...

    UN-AMERICAN!

    OK rethugliCANTs, neocons, Tea baggers and Obama haters, where's your solutions to the posioning of the Gulf. Don't give me that BS about small governement or that the private sector can do a better job – Give me solutions not right wing talking points and political platitudes!

    June 17, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Ray E. (Georgia)

    You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Except the Bush haters and Big business haters.that think the liberals and democrats have their best interests in mind, at the expense of others I might add.

    The liberals and Obama want to controll everything and all the money besides because they only want to help you.

    That was tried in the old Soviet Union. I think it failed. The congressman is of course correct. God how Obama's deception is showing thru. Every day it is Amateur Hour in the White House.

    June 17, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Dan

    BP wasn't paying claims.

    This forced hard working Americans to sign up for Government food stamps just to feed their children.

    Shame on anyone who doesn't understand this.

    June 17, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Well, it IS a slush fund. Legally, Obama has no real right to demand that money from BP."

    Legally, Obama has the power and authority to do a whole lot of things to BP that BP would rather he not do. Giving them the option toplace $20B in an ESCROW fund specifically earmarked to pay the costs and damages created and incurred as a result of BP's mess...that is called leveraging your superior bargaining position and it is PRECISELY what a good leader and executive does when the options available to him through unilaterally wielding his power and authority are less desireable. In this case, it is far more desireable to create a secure fund for paying the people of the Gulf region for their losses and for the clean-up costs rather than seizing assets and issuing myriad executive orders and decrees. It's a far more pragmatic approach to problem solving.

    REALITY: this is the GOP defnding Big Oil and corporatocracy and trying to latch onto the curren tlevel of distrust and disgruntlement with government in an attempt to generate the assumption, based on no specific facts or evidence, that this $20B is blood money that Obama and the Dems will misuse. Conspiracy theories are like a$$holes....

    June 17, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. ETM

    Most Republicans–and particularly TX Republicans–are owned by Big Oil, so Barton's remarks should come as no surprise.

    June 17, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. REG in AZ

    TEXAS REP APOLOGIZES TO BP!!! Without any doubt and especially without any hint of guilt Joe Barton showed where his complete loyalty and commitment is; not with his constituents but with the Special Interests who support him and who he caters to. It is but one clear example of what is wrong in politics. As long as politics takes so much money just to run then money is just going to run politics (and the people will come in 2nd, if at all). We saw it even more vividly over the eight years with Bush-Cheney constantly doing everything to placate and patronize Special Interests and the select few, while they gave the people only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to rationalize and manipulate. Whenever it is obvious a politician favors Special Interests and/or the special few, the voters need to take notice and beware.

    June 17, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. stop-confusion

    People, stop with the BS about illegal and no independent managing. And stop with this "millions given to Obama" An independent group has been (or is being) appointed. That was clearly stated. He got about 64'000 dollars from the EMPLOYEES of BP. GEEZ. Get the facts straight. Put a lid on it!

    June 17, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Steph

    Well Said! This Republican (and his buddies) seem to forget that the person assigned to handling this fund is the SAME person assigned to manage the compensation for 9/11 victims. This is hardly a "slush fund for the Democrats". The Repubs are just upset that President Obama is getting results! Go throw your temper tantrum somewhere else, it's not very attractive.

    June 17, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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