June 17th, 2010
11:56 AM ET
8 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. Edward

    Republicans would let their mothers and fathers drown in oil like those pelicans to defend big corporations. This money is not set aside by BP–not the taxpayers!–for fun but to support those financially impacted by this disaster. Shame on you, Joe Barton. Shame on you!

    June 17, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Wisconsinite

    "where in the constitution does the executive branch have the authority to extort money from a private (foreign owned) company?"

    Ok idiot, try to read this slowly so MAYBE you'll understand. The President did not EXTORT or DEMAND that BP set up a fund of 20 billion dollars for to settle claims for the people of the gulf coast. The President got BP to AGREE to do it! That, idiot, is what a GOOD LEADER does in a crisis situation.

    June 17, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. thor

    Obama is as much responsible for whats's going on in the Gulf as BP.He wants as much damage done as possible so he can blame Big Oil so that he can gain support for his energy bill.If he wanted to clean up the oil he would have every asset available working to do just that but most people can tell you that isn't what's being done.

    June 17, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. J. Keller

    Wow, just. . . . Wow.
    Ok, First point: BP is responsible, should be held accountable for this disaster of epic proportions that they have created.

    Second point: Rep. Barton made ABSOLUTELY no defense of BP whatsoever. He in no way intimated that BP should not be held to account for it's gross incompetence. Go and UNDERSTAND what he said. If you read it, then go read it again till you understand the simple fact he did not make any attempt to absolve BP of liability.

    What he DID do was express an accurate assesment of the disgraceful way that the government has played BP for their own political advantage. They have sucessfully stirred up an effective public sentiment firmly grounded in mob mentality complete with digital pitch forks and torches. Think for yourselves people!

    Third point: Where does the government get off dictating how BP handles the costs associated with the cleanup? No one knows how much this cleanup will cost, and BP needs the flexibility to structure the costs of it in such a manner that the company is not destroyed financially. Again, yes, they ARE responsible, no one is saying they aren't. This move IS tantamount to a 'fleecing' of BP, because if the spill costs less than 20 bln to clean up, you know the govn't wouldn't return the unused funds. Compensation to those who's livlihoods have been impacted should be fair, but with this slush fund in place, they will likely demand more in compensation than they ever would have made in a lifetime's endeavour.

    Fourth point: BP is a very large company with millions of investors who's retirements depend on the company doing well. This isn't even accounting for the thousands of BP employees. Who wants to destroy the livilhood of thousands of workers and millions of invested retirees for the sake of spite? Anyone? Didn't think so. If the government is allowed to dicate these sorts of terms to BP, it could well destroy the company financially. Is the goal to put BP out of business? It appears that way. Government is good at putting companies out of business for the good of the citizens, just not the citizens who were formerly employed by said companies now out of business. I know this happens because I have family members that have been put out of perfectly good jobs due to government 'assistance' and here they are again, trying to help out.

    Hold them accountable in a reasonable and legal fashion, instead of the Chicago style politi-thuggery that's presently being employed.

    June 17, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. SocialismBad

    Yes, American's should be proud of Obozo's jack-booted hold on BP neck. It obviously has many other companies just lining up to do business in the USA so they can potentially get similar treatment!

    Simply pay no attention to the tens of thousands of jobs it will cost this country. It is all for a good cause, making Obozo look tough.

    June 17, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Sandy Carey

    Hammerer - you are really just to incredibly stupid to even attempt to reach - read something besides your comic books and try to get a life - Jeeez!! And, "hammerer?" - are you kidding me?!

    June 17, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Ms. White

    A foreign country's company has caused a terrorist attached in the USA.
    Why aren't these people arrested, tried, and convicted of crimes against the American people?
    If you or I caused an "accident", we would have to pay for the damaged we caused...What is the differance?
    If you or I spilled gallons of oil or gas on your lawn, you would want me to pay for the clean up and personal damages...whats is the differance?

    June 17, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. bj

    Shut Up! Republicans are mad because this cuts into their under the table money. I guess those idiots that agree with them don't have the intellect to understand that. They are probably the ones whose family members years ago use to go to church, then the picnic. That would explain a lot about their stupidity, ignorance and hatred for the President.

    June 17, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. paul rinta,ma.

    With all due respect Mr Barton,after hearing you and watching you,you are whithout a doubt an area where the sun does not shine.

    June 17, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. George

    Where in the constitution of the United States that bo swore to uphold and defend, does the president have the authority to force a publicly traded corporation that is owned by a foreign country to set aside any amount of money for any reason? He's a boob, and needs to be investigated for subjugating and avoiding his duties as the leader of our nation.

    June 17, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. norma

    I LOVE the GOP! They could care less about the truth...Obama is dithering. He's weak. He's behaving like a thug. He didn't meet one on one with the BP CEO. He's too close to big oil. He's not spending enough time with the people of the gulf. He's going down to meet with the people of the gulf the third time for another photo op.

    Seriously, dudes, what is it? If you have a legitimate complaint, that's fine, but your "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to criticizing him makes you look like whiny little babies who don't have any legitimate complaints but you do have a personal issue with our President.

    June 17, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. glib lib

    First these conservatives cry about how nothing is being done (which it is) then when the President holds BPs feet to the fire they cry about how BP doesn't deserve that (which they do). You can't please these people. They will not stop pouting about loosing the white house to a "liberal Democrat" (which he isn't) until they once again regain control of Washington and they get to run this country in the ground all over again (which they will).

    June 17, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. evelin

    I applaud you Sue from Vienna!
    President Obama had to deal with a full plate, no other president was faced with!
    As 9/11 happened, everyone united around the president , people came together,now with this crisis, the republican are using this for there own political gain, even so, they are the party of no regulations!
    This is so shameful!

    June 17, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. tony

    Four and the door,

    The Obama Administration apparently got BRITISH Petroleum to come up with 20 billion to pay for the damages it caused in the Gulf while your Republican Party criticized Obama and Democrats for sitting on their thumbs. If you think getting BP to pay 20 billion for the greatest man-made environmental disaster is brutalizing, wait until you see what happens to the Republican Party in November when voters learn that Republicans apologized to BP for causing the disaster.

    June 17, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. J.T.

    What did everyone expect from a politician from Texas? He has oil going through his vains just like Bush.

    June 17, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. cartman1

    Obama got 20 Billion now in return for massive future gov subsidies to BP's cleantech division. If cap and trade passes BP will do very well.

    June 17, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. cjr

    he's a republican, he's from Texas – he's a real jerk!

    June 17, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. jboh

    Shakedown my eye. This gaurrantees that at least some of the cost will be recovered. Without this "slush fund" nothing would be paid until a long, drawn-out court case. We don't need to let BP stall with appeal after appeal before paying anything. I, for one, am glad that the folks in need because of BP's arrogant negligence won't have to wait as long as the victims of Love Canal had to wait for help. By the way, the GOP was against penalizing the chemical dumpers too.

    June 17, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. J.T.

    TO John, PA. You sound more ignorant than Barton. You probably needed a telepromoter to post your comment.

    June 17, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. NH Independent

    If BP Corporates are scumbags then Obama is a political scumbag.....

    June 17, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. rdepontb

    Barton, that was a low blow, bringing a sting of "why did you go and do that" to Tony Hayward's face. The shame is on you, sir.

    June 17, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Texan

    Okay Rep. Barton.......tell me, what would Jesus do?

    June 17, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. mexicana

    We all know what the Obama administration is all about so I AGREE WITH MR. BARTON 100% - BO's administration is SHAMEFUL!!!

    June 17, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Dave B

    Thank you Barton for speaking the truth. We are stuck with aThug in the white house for just a few more years. Can't wait to vote him out.

    June 17, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Joyce

    How can you say this is extortion? BP agreed to set up this fund to protect US interests. Slush fund? No, it's not a slush fund. This is a fund set up and governed with specific guidelines. I am becoming ashamed how stupid and negative Americans have become....always eager to attach the man on top....whoever he is.

    To Sue of Vienna, VA: You're right on!!!!!

    June 17, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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