June 14th, 2010
01:59 PM ET
12 years ago

Lawmakers to BP: Put up $20 billion

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - BP: Kick up $20 billion to pay for the recent oil spill in the Gulf region. And make it snappy.

That's the message Senate majority leader Harry Reid and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus sent to BP CEO Tony Hayward in a letter on Monday.

"Establishment of this account would serve as an act of good faith and as a first step towards ensuring that there will be no delay in payments or attempt to evade responsibility for damages," the letter said.

But it maybe hard for BP to comply: The London-based company only had about $7 billion in cash as of March 31, according to its most recent financial statement. And the oil giant is scheduled to pay out dividends on June 21 - although it is holding a board meeting Monday to discuss the matter.

Read the full story here.

Filed under: BP • Senate Democrats
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Jefe

    If they only have $7B cash, then they should sell some assets. They were making $50B/year when gas was $4+/gal. The money went somewhere. The Gulf is likely going to take at least 200 years to clean up, I don't think $20B is even going to cut it.

    June 14, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    The administration asked BP to set up an account and BP agreed. Now the Dems in congress are telling BP how much! I fully understand why. They are so liberal with everyone else's money! So much so, they cannot help themselves. They cannot help it! I will admit $7b in cash is quite a bit sitting around! i will also admit BP should pay up. I just don't think Congress has the responsibility to say how much! Dividends may have to wait!

    June 14, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Remember the Alamo

    Give the bill to OBAMA. He said the responsibility and the buck rests with him.

    June 14, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. InlandEmperor

    Excellent suggestion Senator Reid. While you are at it you might want to strongly urge Haliburton to pony up some cash as well.

    June 14, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Georgia from Ohio

    Could someone please explain to me how in the world did a British company come allllll the way to the Louisiana coast, drill USA oil (natural resource) and sell it back to us (USA citizens)??? The way that oil is leakiing, there is an awful lot down there!!!! Will it ever stop leaking???

    June 14, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. diridi

    just pass this energy and climate reform....then talk...ok, we need more natural gas....fuel efficeient cars, and solid worranty and fuel efficiency...ok...enough is enough...

    June 14, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Chris

    Dividends?! You have got to be kidding! These guys just get more and more twisted.

    June 14, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Michael

    BP should put up $20B...and so should every other company drilling off shore anywhere. Sooner or later this is going to happen again given the number of current and future drilling rigs out there.

    Besides the oil companys annually report staggering profits. They should put someting asside (in escrow) for future disasters.

    June 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Jim

    BP could just put in an IOU $20 billion. Just write it out on a piece of notebook paper. It could be worthless- that would be okay -Congress would understand – that's what they do when passing budgets. Besides, I heard Congress was going to start filling the account by giving back the money they've gotten from "big oil" – that only seems fair. Is this escrow account like a "lock box"?

    June 14, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Bryan

    The videos are all over the Internet and news outlets.

    BP is still barring Journalists from filming and speaking to workers.

    When are WE THE PEOPLE in Louisianna going to Unite and go throw these B--- off our beaches and take control of all of it.


    Stop waiting and being threatend on your own soil.

    For the love of GOD ALL of UNITE and storm the Beaches.

    Do not let it be said the people of Lousianna stood by and watched and did nothing

    June 14, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Show me the money!!!

    June 14, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Retired Army in San Antonio


    THAT'S gonna leave a mark!

    June 14, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Albert

    But wait, the Senate Republicans are the Party that protects and serves global corporations; not people. They will not want global corporate stock holders to have to loose money by cleaning up the mess they made when they can pass the bill to American tax payers and small business owners, i.e., "get government off of our backs." When they say "our" they mean "big business!"

    June 14, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Slider

    Now, BP knows what it's like to be an American citizen under the Obama administration.

    June 14, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Larry

    BP is required by the 1990 Oil Pollution to pay for ALL clean up costs of this spill. It will take years and far more than $20 billion dollars to accomplish that.

    What is at risk here is whether they'll pay for lost incomes of the people affected.

    June 14, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Rob

    Are US politicians bent on destroying BP? There is an old saying – don't bite the hand that feeds you. Politicians should take this to heart. If you want BP to continue to pay for the oil spill and damages don't force them into Bankruptcy or just plain out of business. Do you really need a 20 billion dollar fund at the moment or could a fund with less money that can be replenished as time passes also work? Just because these Senators are used to spending billions and trillions of the taxpayers money without thought as to where they are getting the funds does not mean they should apply the same practice to BP. It seems a lot of this is just for public consumption and the politicians being able to say – yeah we raked them over the coals and forced them to not pay their dividend. Should we have an investigation and see how many Senators, Congressman and members of the executive branch dumped their BP stock or where their supposedly blind trusts and friends dumped their BP stock prior to calling for the suspension of dividends?

    June 14, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    BP is playing hardball and investors are helping them, like Bush/Cheney/Halliburton. When you put two big oil people in office you can' expect different results.

    June 14, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Dividends? No, sorry, you don't get to consider yourself to be turning a net profit when you just caused a national economic and environmental disaster with expected damages and costs into the billions of dollars.

    THIS is precisely what the GOPers are playing to protect by fighting to keep the $75M cap on liability in place and not allow it to be removed retroactively. $75M equals ONE DAY of net profit for BP (they netted $6B last quarter...do the math). They think companies should be able to pretend that there is no cost to causing environmental and economic catastrophes...should be allowed to funnel that money away as dividends instead of having to tell its shareholders that, because of its bad business practices, skirting of regulations, bribery and courting of regulatory officials and cutting corners, it is now operating in the red.

    June 14, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. File under "Sarcasm"

    Sounds more like a political headline grab rather than a reasoned suggestion. I guess they figure if they bankrupt BP, Obama can take them over and nationalize them. Oh, wait, that sounds like something from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela would do.

    June 14, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Chris - Denver

    Let's make it $50 billion.

    June 14, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Annette Davis

    BP dividend should not be paid. They should be redirected to the treasury of US to cover the clean up. They should allow the professor at these major Univ. and other private org to assist and make BP pay the bill.

    I think Pres. Ombama and Congress is working hard to help BP solve the problem; but BP continues to lie. I really don't think they know how to solve the problem.

    I think the US should solve the problem and have BP sign an agreement that they will pay the Gov. to clean this up. Get half of the money up front.

    I am afraid of this company.

    June 14, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    Did Chris Dodd and Barney Franks put up Billions in reserve to cover the huge losses suffered in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the disaster that followed? I sure haven't seen any mention of that. They are just as responsible for the economic collapse as BP is for the oil spill.

    June 14, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Big George in Big D

    Gee – is Harry gett "tuff"? Don't think its his place to make any demands from anyone.

    June 14, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. MatthewDetroit

    BP should not pay 1 dollar until it is ALL over.

    The goverment will just STEAL the money and build an additional WELFARE case for themselves.

    BP do yourself a favor. FIGHT the socialist president of the US. When it is all done you can spend the money on the cleanup. DONT give them the money now....it would NEVER end and they will be handing out welfare checks to EVERY resident of the coast. You will just become a PATSY for US Welfare in the south.

    SAY NO.

    June 14, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |