Texas lawmaker accuses White House of BP shakedown

Rep. Joe Barton is "ashamed" of $20 billion fund to compensate those injured in oil spill

Published June 17, 2010 2:38PM (EDT)

A leading House Republican has accused the White House of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP by requiring the company to establish a huge fund to compensate those hurt by the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Rep. Joe Barton made the assertion Thursday at the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer, Tony Hayward, was appearing for the first time before Congress.

Facing Hayward at the witness table, the Texas Republican congressman said, "I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House" on Wednesday. Barton was referring to the agreement that President Barack Obama announced with BP for establishment of a $20 billion relief fund.

By Associated Press

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Gulf Oil Spill