House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said Thursday that he disagrees with a fellow Republican’s assessment that a $20 billion BP escrow fund was a “shakedown.”
House Energy and Commerce ranking member Joe Barton (Texas) apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward at a Thursday morning hearing and said it was “a tragedy of the first proportion” that BP was having to pay in the fund, which he characterized as “a $20 billion shakedown.”
Asked whether he disagreed with Barton’s assessment, Boehner said, “I do.”
The Minority Leader said he was glad BP was being held accountable for the costs associated with cleaning up the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, which continues nearly two months after it began.
“I have said since the beginning that BP ought to be held accountable for every dime of this tragedy,” Boehner said.
But Barton is not the only House Republican who has criticized the escrow account, which BP executives agreed to pay into during a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga) said in a Wednesday statement that the fund “suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics.”
“These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control,” Price added.
The White House released a statement calling on Barton to “repudiate” his comments.