July 31, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

GOP Discontent Grows Over Barton’s Apology to BP

“If Mr. Barton thinks that the president of the United States, in light of the tragedy that’s going on there, should have simply sat back and said well, do whichever you are going to do, that’s not what the American people expected and that’s not what the American people want their president to do,” he said. “I think the president did exactly the right thing.”

Hoyer added that Barton’s apology to BP — along with other Republican criticism of the president’s push for an escrow fund from Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.), who called it a Chicago-style “shakedown” — was emblematic of the Republican Party’s failure to regulate the oil and financial industries when it was in charge.

“That’s reflective of the reason we are where we are,” Hoyer said. “They believed if you simply leave the private sector unregulated, no oversight, let them do whatever they want to do, that everything will be fine. That wasn’t true in the financial community and it clearly wasn’t true here.”

But Hoyer declined to call for Barton to be removed from his ranking position. If Members of Congress were removed from their positions every time they said something dumb, “probably all of us would be removed,” he joked.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), issued a statement that attempted to broaden Barton’s comments to all Republicans. “Republicans should get their priorities straight: are they going to keep protecting and apologizing for Big Oil or will they finally stand up for families and businesses whose lives have been upended by the BP oil spill,” Manley said, adding that Barton’s comments demonstrated “an appalling amount of chutzpah.”

Jennifer Bendery and Jackie Kucinich contributed to this report.

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