The White House, in a rare move, blasted comments made by Rep. Joe Barton, who criticized the administration's efforts to create the BP-funded $20 billion escrow fund.
The Texas congressman, who is the ranking Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (in other words, he would be the chairman if Republicans took control of the House), said at this morning's hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward that he is "ashamed of what happened at the White House yesterday."
He even "apologized" to BP for the establishment of the fund, which would pay for oil spill damages in the Gulf region. Barton called it a "slush fund," stemming from a "shakedown"
Here's the White House's full statement.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Congressman Joe Barton's Apology to BP
"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners 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."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to a glitch in our software, the original version of this post, put up around noon ET, mysteriously disappeared. Our apologies to our readers.]