Via Think Progress, great news for Joe Barton!
Feinberg says BP hasn't put money in escrow account yet
BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. -- Ken Feinberg said today he hasn't been able to start writing claims checks because BP PLC has not yet deposited any money into the $20 billion escrow fund it promised to create.
Feinberg said he doesn't have the authority to force BP to deposit the money, and that he can't start making payments until it does.
"I don't want the checks to bounce," he said.
He said he has been told that the money would be available in the next week or so.
BP says the delay is a result of its continuing negotiations with the White House over the fund. According to the agreement originally announced in June, BP was to deposit the funds over the course of four years, with $3 billion made available immediately followed by $2 billion later this fiscal year and then $5 billion in each of the next three fiscal years.
You have to wonder if BP would still be dragging its heels if leading Republicans like Barton, Tom Price, and Michele Bachmann hadn't taken the oil giant's side and criticized the escrow account as a slush fund. Although those GOPers did receive public backlash for siding with BP, they also sent a signal to BP that Republicans would go easy on the company if they were to recapture Congress this fall. So, from BP's perspective, it might make sense to try to negotiate a deal with an escape valve in the hope that GOP victory would allow them to shirk their responsibilities altogether.
If that does end up happening, don't expect any apologies from Joe Barton. He'll be too busy cheering behind closed doors.