BP is ponying up $20 billion for Gulf Spill oil damages. And quite a few Republicans don’t like it one bit.
The Obama administration and BP seem to have come to a solution on paying for damages from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with the $20 billion escrow account to pay out damages to claimants. And since everything that a president does will get attacked by opponents, some Republicans have come out strongly against it — with the sum total of charges being that it will turn into a political slush fund procured through dirty Chicago thug tactics that will be paid out to ACORN.
• Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) vigorously attacked the idea: “The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund,” Bachmann said on Tuesday, also adding that BP should say, “We’re not going to be chumps, and we’re not going to be fleeced.” Bachmann later backtracked on Wednesday, saying that BP should pay for all of the damages involved, but that the fund should not be “an unending pot of money.”
• The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, released a statement Wednesday bashing the fund — and seeming to criticize BP for accepting it. The group’s chairman, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), said in a statement that while BP should be held responsible for damages, “BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new 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.”
• Rush Limbaugh said that the escrow fund would be a “slush fund,” and wondered where the money would end up going: “Who’s gonna get this money? Union activists? ACORN people? Who’s gonna get this money. Let’s keep a sharp eye on who Feinberg gives this money to. Because I’m telling you, this is just another bailout fund, called something else, and we’ll see who gets it.”
• Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) has also voiced criticism — saying that forcing BP to pay the money now would cut into their profits, thus making it more difficult to pay more down the line. “If BP is the responsible party under the law, they’re to pay for everything. I do worry that this idea of making them make a huge escrow fund is going to make it less likely that they’ll pay for everything. They need their capital to drill wells. They need their capital to produce income. … But this escrow bothers me that it’s going to make them less able to pay us what they owe us. And that concerns me.”
• Also on Fox News, Stuart Varney and Sean Hannity speculated that the account would be used as a “political slush fund.”
• In the House committee hearing just this morning on the spill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) referred to the fund as a “$20 billion shakedown.”