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Paper: BP agrees to put $20b in escrow

The New York Times with this breaking news:

The White House and top executives of the energy giant BP have tentatively agreed that the oil company will pay about $20 billion over several years into an independently controlled fund to pay compensation to people and businesses harmed by the immense oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The fund would be overseen by Kenneth Feinberg, the prominent lawyer who ran the compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and is the government's special master for executive pay under the TARP program. President Obama demanded the creation of such a fund in his national address about the oil spill Tuesday evening, and met with company execcutives at the White House on Wednesday.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Chuck Todd adds: Administration officials confirm that reports about BP putting $20 billion in escrow are true, and that Ken Feinberg, who ran the 9/11 victims' fund, will be the third party overseeing the distribution of these funds.

However, administration officials caution that the rules governing how the government goes back to BP for more money -- if needed -- are what's being negotiated now.