Politics

GOP Rep. Jeff Miller calls for Barton to step down from top committee spot over BP comments.

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Earlier this morning, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) called the $20 billion escrow fund BP agreed to set up yesterday to pay for oil spill damages a “slush fund” resulting from a “shakedown” by the White House. Though many conservatives agree with Barton, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) refused to endorse Barton’s position. Now, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has called for Barton to step down as the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee because of his comments:

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), whose Pensacola district is among the most-impacted areas in the Gulf by the oil spill, condemned Barton for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a committee meeting on Thursday.

“I condemn Mr. Barton’s statement. Mr. Barton’s remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership on the Energy and Commerce Committee,” Miller said in a statement. “He should step down as Ranking Member of the Committee.”

UPDATE

Barton will soon have to step down anyway as House Republicans decided in February to “stick with six-year term limits for top Republicans on House committees.”

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,Barton tells Politico that he has no plans to step down prematurely from his spot on the committee. Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise said, “I don’t think anybody should be apologizing to Tony Hayward. I think he should be apologizing to the Gulf States.”

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,Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) says Barton “owes the people of the gulf coast an apology, not the CEO of the company that caused this mess.”

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,ThinkProgress spoke to Rev. Lennox Yearwood, a Louisiana pastor, about Louisina Republican Rep. John Fleming and Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) comments attacking the escrow fund as a “shakedown.” Yearwood slammed Fleming and Barton for “playing politics with people’s lives” and called their statements “shameful.” Watch it:

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