Has Joe Barton Been Living Under a Rock?

bpCongressman Joe Barton just forgot which team he was playing for.

The Texas Republican and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee ruffled feathers on both sides of his aisle this week when he dubbed the government's requirement that BP create a $20 billion escrow fund a "shakedown."

We know he's from Texas, but he does understand he represents the American people first, right? And we're in the midst of the worst oil spill in the nation's history?

Excuse us for stating the obvious, but it seems the Congressman has been living under a rock.


According to wire reports, Barton officially apologized to BP, saying:

"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."

Odd, considering last week Barton blamed BP itself for the spill during a telephone town hall meeting with his constituents:

“This could have and should have been prevented. There were some early warning signs and questionable decision making by BP."

Odder still considering Barton spent a portion of that town hall meeting criticizing the Obama administration's creation of a welfare state

"It is perpetuating dependence. I think it is shortsighted and wrong. We don’t need a welfare system, we need a work-fare system -- one that teaches people the skills they need to get and keep a job.”

So what's the outlay of federal and state taxpayer funds for a response to a BP-caused tragedy with no demands of compensation? If the private burden does not belong on the public's shoulders, that should surely apply to a multibillion-dollar private company.

Barton's fast losing friends, with House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner and other Republicans scurrying away from him as fast as they can. Yes, Barton has managed to put Obama and the bulk of the Republican House contingent on the same page.

Apparently miracles do happen. Now if only they'd happen in the Gulf.


Image via Daisybush/Flickr

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