June 17, 2010
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Before Tony Hayward made his opening statement.
REP JOE BARTON to Hayward (R-TX):
But I’m ashamed at what happened in the WH yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown – in this case a $20B shakedown – with the AG of the US, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20B slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, that’s got no legal standing, which sets, I think, a terrible precedent in the future.
REP EDWARD MARKEY (D-MA)
No. This is not a shakedown of their company. This is the American government – President Obama – ensuring that this company is made accountable and sending a signal to all other companies that seek to treat ordinary American families in a way that can destroy their entire family’s history. This is, in my opinion, the American government working at its best. This is creating truly the kind of partnership between the public and private sector that could make sure that innocent victims are not road kill as a result of corporate plans that did not actually factor in the harm that can occur to ordinary families.
ROBERT GIBBS through CNN’s Dan Lothian:
What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small businessowners, and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a tragedy, but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.
REP MIKE BURGESS (R-TX) to Hayward:
I am not going to apologize to you. It was, after all, BP executives who were on that rig, BP executives who ultimately could have made the call to stop operations when things became unsafe. And ultimately, you are the person at the top and you are responsible. We lost 11 men on that rig. Transocean and other companies lost 11 men on that rig. I don’t feel that apologies are in order.
*REP BARTON hours later during Q & A:
Finally, Mr. Chairman, if I may take a small point of personal privilege, I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible, and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident. And if anything I have said this morning has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction.