[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/17/art.barton.061710.jpg caption ="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.
"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.