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. oskar

    Barton has proven he is a pimp of the oil and gas companies; he is a Texan after all. Not only do they subsidize his elections, but in so doing guaranteeing that the people of the Gulf have to answer to a different standard. the score card:
    BP oil profits 1; victims 0

    June 17, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Randy Rigdon

    It's nice that the Republicans and Democrats agree on something: Barton is the dumbest jackass in the country.

    June 17, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. charles

    I have been watching Fox news, the same message has been delivered that the Governemnt has been hard on BP. Paul delivered the same message after the primaries. The blem has been on Obama for acting too slow . Why ask for the Government to interviene when the republican , tea Party,& Birthers are singing Death to the Government . First of all, we are in this stuation because of the laxity and cossy reralationship between the regulators and the industry. Republicans are singing no regulation.
    wakeup people!!!

    June 17, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. Robert Warner

    This fake apology takes away none of the clarity Barton provided as to the GOP; they want to let business do as it will and when, as a result of that indifference, something explodes like this oil well, or implodes like our economy, they want us to say "Oh well, accidents happen" and let corporations proceed as usual. Anyone that still believes that the GOP actually cares about the less-than-rich needs to go find a Tea Party to share their fantasies with.

    June 17, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. smc, central PA

    "Now that he's apologized"?!?!? He didn't apologize for anything. He only apologized that his comments might have been misinterpreted. No, we interpreted them correctly: there are those of us who think it's appropriate for BP to set up a $20 billion escrow account to pay damages, and then there are Republicans like Barton, Bachmann, Limbaugh, etc. who don't.

    June 17, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Jayson

    Why apologize? We have this little thing called a legal system which has been kicked to the curb in favor of irrational decision making driven by emotion.

    June 17, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Liz in DC

    What Rep. Barton failed to consider in his rash statement was that the President's actions actually benefitted his constituents in Texas. Has Mr. Barton forgotten how long it took for Exxon to pay out on the Valdez spill?

    Asking criminals to make restitution in the name of the American People is hardly a "shakedown." The real "shakedown" was how Wall Street, the Sickness industrial complex and Big Oil have redistributed wealth in the U.S. from poor to already rich. The real "shakedown" is how laissez faire capitalism tends toward monopoly power if not regulated and how money concentrates with a few and the rest become serfs if we don't enforce estate taxes.

    Shame on us as a nation for not thinking defending the interests of the people is a valid function of government.

    June 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell GA

    It must be really bad when other GOP politicians are ashamed of your pro-business stance.

    June 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. hobart

    Too little, too late. The party leadership created this "big business uber alles" climate of hateful rhetoric, and now they pretend to scold one of their flock who took it up a notch.

    How about you demand apologies from everyone else in your party who says the exact same thing, like Michelle Bachmann, or Rudy Giulianni, or Rand Paul, or Rush Limbaugh? How many of you have the guts to stand up to Rush and demand an apology? Zero?! Case closed, hypocrites.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    June 17, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. George of the jungle

    ooops I guess at least one repo has let us know how he feels the rest pretend they are not in the oil company pockets. I guess being a repo means you do every thing they tell you or they take it away.

    June 17, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Brian

    Tar & Feather him!
    See how he likes it

    June 17, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. snow

    I agree with Rep Barton, it was/is a shakedown by this administration on a private company not even owned by this country. BP had long ago said it would pay any and all legimate claims so you can call it by any name but it is still a shakedown.

    June 17, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Jerry

    This just shows how out of touch Tea Party extremist Republican are with the mainstream. Apologizing to BP? Why? Just because they're a company that has jobs? The thinking here is that a company can break the law as long as they're helping Americans earn a living?

    Is that it?

    It's pathetic. I'll never vote Republican again.

    June 17, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Allen

    Joe Barton has allowed companies to poison the land, air, and people of north Texas for years. Now he wants everyone to look the other way while BP does the same to the Gulf. Smokey Joe has got to go!

    June 17, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. cile/fairhiope, al

    What's new?? Another incompetent idiot fool from Texas. Been there done that!!!! We all have and this country is the worse for them.

    June 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. Donnatella

    To late neocon's I hear the people in the gulf are pissed about this man's commits, the truth is if we had a republicans in the white house he probably would of left those people in the gulf to fend for themselves, I hope they remember this come November.

    June 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Rick

    Republican's showing their true colors. They don't care about the little people or the earth.

    June 17, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Sue Speed

    If they (GOP leadership) are sincere, then strip him of that seniority. This is not any kind of unusual action on his part. This is Joe Barton, in the pocket of big oil, big business. He has no feel for the future, air quality for our children, grandchildren.
    Money in his pocket – THAT IS HIS ONLY CONCERN.
    What is happening now, not the future for our kids, their children. Short-sighted, to say the least. Such a shame on our district. GOP – show some American spirit. Put someone in his place who cares for the future of the USA and its citizens!

    June 17, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Jimmy Norris

    It is ridiculous that a member of this committee is not allowed to have his or her own views. Being forced out because his views do not accord with the majority is an abject abuse of the concept of democracy.

    June 17, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. Chalupa

    Barton should not back down. This is America. He is entitled to his opinion. Let's stop the PC crap.

    June 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. Swampfox09

    Rep. Barton's large campaign contributions from big oil should preclude him from even being on the energy committee. Americans from all over the country should inundate his office with calls to resign......

    June 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. lynn

    The Republicans politicize everything! I am so sick of them attacking our President. No matter what he says/does they attack – even if it is something they previously supported, now they are against just because Obama is for it! Just sick of them all!! They don't care about the American people, only about getting elected through lies...

    June 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    He should lose that and more,the little scumbag.

    June 17, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Kentucky

    Are they going to demand that Rand Paul say he is sorry for saying that President Obama sounded "unamerican" for saying that BP must pay for this mess? Barton and Rand Paul are today's Republican party.

    June 17, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Ex-republican

    Joe Barton(R!) is a TRAITOR to our country. GOP should hang its head in shame over this one. This just makes me feel sick to my stomach.

    June 17, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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