June 17th, 2010
05:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Republican given ultimatum

Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders to apologize 'immediately' for saying he was 'ashamed' of the Obama administration for asking BP to establish a fund for damage compensation.

Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders to apologize 'immediately' for saying he was 'ashamed' of the Obama administration for asking BP to establish a fund for damage compensation.

Washington (CNN) – Under fire for appearing to shield BP from criticism Thursday morning, Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders later in the day to apologize "immediately" or lose his position as the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, several Republican sources tell CNN.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, delivered the pointed demand to Barton, a Texas congressman.

Related: Congressman: 'I am ashamed' of 'shakedown' of BP

"He was told apologize immediately or you will lose your position immediately," said a Republican leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The aide added, "Now that he's apologized, we'll see what happens going forward."

After making his controversial comments to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Barton apologized later in the hearing and then followed up with a stronger written statement.

Filed under: BP • Joe Barton • Oil spill
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Don SC

    Apology so not accepted; totally meaningless as it does not change his true stripes and we all know that. This guy's a fossil and needs to move on.

    June 17, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. JohnRJ08

    Excuse me, but what good does an apology do here? This guy just accused the White House of "shaking down" BP for the $20 billion escrow fund to help people damaged by the oil spill in the gulf. He is so partisan that he has lost any connection to reality. Michele Bachmann has said that the fund amounts to the government using BP as its own "piggy bank"? What is wrong with these people? More importantly, what is wrong with the morons who support them and believe every word that comes out of their mouths? The quality of people inhabiting the Republican Party these days is absolutely dreadful.

    June 17, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. gr

    Republicans continue to show the American people they just DON'T CARE!

    June 17, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. lee

    He is ONLY apologizing to save his political career (if at all possible). He is not apologizing because he believes his comments were wrong! Kick him out of office. He is not a true representative of the American people. All he cares about is his own selfish greed.

    June 17, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. George

    Boehner told this guy to apologize "immediately", beautiful. I can't wait to watch Countdown tonight!

    June 17, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Al Briggs

    I, too, am ashamed of the shakedown and extortion the US Federal government is committing. BP, while not completely without fault, should not be held to a greater liability than what is currently the law. Additionally, the fact that the Federal government wants this money Over 20 Billion dollars) to "manage" as they see fit is shameful.
    This accident is tragic–from the terrible loss of life on the oil rig to the oil spill disaster that continues and will have far-reaching effects on the environment and the economy. However, destroying a company and the livelihood of many of the people in the industry–not just in the Gulf coast region–will not help anything. Learn from what happened; make corrections based on the lessons learned rather than lame accusations; and drill. Yes, drill. Meanwhile, continue to work on alternative energies, but let's US stop buying oil from Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and the rest of OPEC.

    June 17, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. stewart gilligan griffin

    "i would like to apologize to BP. please, feel free to dump oil in the gulf, east coast and west coast. do whatever you like. you are in charge and i love you"

    hugs and kisses

    signed, the republicans and Joe Barton

    June 17, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Patsy, Texas

    Typical slap on the hand from Republicans to their own. This guy is
    not sorry. He said what he went there to say, he hurt the people
    suffering, did not mention the wildlife, and does not care. The
    so-called apology is a joke, he is a joke, Boehner and Cantor are
    both jokes, and the beat goes on. Idle threats do not ease the pain.
    These words will ring in all fair minded people's heads for a very
    long time, and the Republicans will continue their hateful rhetoric.
    I am very serious, this guy should have been given a shovel, a
    ticket to Louisiana, a protective suit, and told "Start shoveling!" and
    take Bachmann with you.

    June 17, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. B.F.Legg

    Absolutely disgraceful, that a member of congress would make such a statement against the White House ( President ). What can Prsident Obama do that would satisfy members of the republican party? There is no precedence of any former President being able to help the American people in such a dramatic and timely way,as this Pesident has done by getting this 20 billion dollar escrow account from BP. Represenative Barton should be removed from the Energy and Commerce Committee immediately.

    June 17, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. billy

    And if the republicans take control of the House in November, that's hwo will be the chairman on the oversight committee for big oil.


    June 17, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. MikeMaz

    the only thing better than watching him say what he did, was watching him backtrack on it. Classic stuff and just shows how some politicians will just do anything to criticize the other party even if it is not warranted. Doesnt make the republicans look so great.

    June 17, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. aprincess2

    Go Barton you were right and the rest of the Republicans who are not backing you are spinless wimps. Do I feel that BP is not responsible, no they are, but they are being treated as that thing in the White House's personal piggy bank. Funny how they need 24 billion to extend unemployment benefits and pay teachers unions, see any coincidence here. That and he flat out said an "independent third party" how is a member of his administration an independent third party. What Obama did is completely illegal, but what else do you expect.

    June 17, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Steve Giles, Cloyne, Ontario

    In ten years the Supreme Court will uphold Barton's viewpoint that the hysterical pressure on BP to ante up $20 billion will be seen as abuse of process and interference with justice, rendering a criminal conviction against BP impossible. But guess what? That is part of the plan – the attendance of the attorney general at the fund creation meeting is designed to ensure that the knowledge of the justice department about the fund is unquestionable. The result is that the money is there for the victims at the cost of side stepping justice.

    June 17, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. mj

    This is so bazaar! Let's get the leak fixed, clean up our waters and beaches. Bring in anyone and any country who is willing to help. Obama does not have one ounce of business sense. He never has and never will. Goes right for the jugular and appoints a new Czar and Committee to make sure BP will have to file bankruptcy. Guess who will pay then? Smile.

    June 17, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. GW

    This article makes his apology seem even more hollow than it did in the first place. It was clear he apologized to save face for the party, I must say it was even more brilliant that they let this news get out. Stay classy GOP.

    June 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. anotherGDlefty

    He is doing what the entire republican party has done during the Obama presidency.

    He was sticking to the Party of No Ideas talking points...Obama did it so it must be bad.

    Too bad he wasn't paying attention to what the were talking about.

    Thanks for just being you GOP Party of No.

    This president is already up 20 Billion from Bush 1 and Exxon's Valdez response.

    Actions speak louder than words GNOP's.

    June 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |

    While he was ordered to give the apology and did so, or he would have lost his position on the committee, his statement does reveal to the public the true feelings of the GOP. That is why the GOP leadership ordered him to retract his statement. When he made his statement he made it clear that it was his opinion and no one else. So why then did the GOP leadership get so upset with him? They could have just labeled him as a maverick, but they couldn't because he exposed the true feelings of the GOP which of course they don't want the public to know. Typical GOP lies right down the line.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    June 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    We know what's in Barton's head and heart, and he should be stripped of ALL his rghts in committees. $1.4 million in campaign financing from Big Oil. Enuff said. We KNOW who he works for, and it isn't citizens of the USA.

    June 17, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Oh please! What a bunch of disingenuous hypocrits!

    This is what the Republican't Party Leadership really feels, so who are they trying to kid?

    Oh yeah, the American people.

    We'll see how many are stupid enough to continue to be fooled.

    June 17, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. cubictruth

    I for one am ashamed of the GOP leadership for backing off. Rep Barton spoke the truth, it is a shakedown. Any guesses as to how much of the money will actually get to the Gulf? Obama has no intention of helping out those in need, he only wants more power. All hail king Obama.......
    What a circus.

    June 17, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Byrd

    What's going to happen going forward? He should be fired from all positions of responsibilty and censured by the House. FInally, he should be made to walk home to Texas, through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisianna. I'm sure he'll get an incrediably warm welcome in each state: They can each tar and feather him right there on the beach. They don't even need to go to the hardware store for supplies.

    June 17, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. RICH

    vote republican–they will defend any corporation that does anything wrong-

    June 17, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. steve

    well... I hope that when little joey barton was speaking he also meant and i hope says that no one in his district deserves any money from BP.... amazing.... i guess he wanted more money from bp..... does it now stand for... Barton Paid...... BP... this is what the gop stands for.....

    vote indy...

    June 17, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Pam

    He still needs to go. He really embarrassed the GOP for showing who they really are.
    They are so hateful towards the President they would rather slam him and kiss up to big oil for all to see.
    Shame on him and his party if he keeps his position.

    June 17, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. Scribe

    So, here it is crystal clear: We have leaders that are totally controlled by someone else, and it's there as plain as can be. Barton first said what he is being paid to think, and later he said what he is being told to think. He might as well be a robot. I wonder what it feels like to have no core, to not be a person any longer.

    June 17, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
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