Sent: Jimena Yantorno
together we can make the difference
When BP CEO Tony Hayward testified before Congress this morning, many expected to hear him apologize for the disaster his company has caused. Instead, GOP Congressman Joe Barton was the one saying he was sorry — to BP.
In his opening statement, Barton, the top Republican on the committee overseeing the oil spill and its aftermath, delivered a personal apology to the oil giant. He said the $20 billion fund that President Obama directed BP to establish to provide relief to the victims of the oil disaster was a “tragedy in the first proportion.”
Other Republicans are echoing his call. Sen. John Cornyn said he “shares” Barton’s concern. Rep. Michele Bachmann said that BP shouldn’t agree to be “fleeced.” Rush Limbaugh called it a “bailout.” The Republican Study Committee, with its 114 members in the House, called it a “shakedown.”
Let’s be clear. This fund is a major victory for the people of the Gulf. It’s a key step toward making them whole again. BP has a responsibility to those whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the disaster. And BP oil executives don’t deserve an apology — the people of the Gulf do.
Rep. Barton and Republicans like him don’t understand that the real tragedy is what’s happening to the people in the Gulf Coast. They’re the ones who deserve his apology — not BP.
But big oil knows exactly who its allies are. And if Republicans win control of the House, Rep. Barton could be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — overseeing regulation of the oil and gas industry.
Notably, companies like Halliburton — the folks responsible for cementing the Deepwater Horizon rig — are directing their political committees to deliver thousands of dollars to GOP candidates this cycle. Barton himself has received more than $100,000 from the oil and gas industry this election cycle.
Barton should apologize to the people of the Gulf and he should step down as the highest-ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.