BP agrees to $20B for Gulf claims

President Obama on Wednesday announced that “BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion to pay claims for damages resulting from” the Gulf oil spill.

“Currently, under federal law, there is a $75 million cap on how much oil companies could under certain circumstances be required to pay for economic damages resulting from a spill such as this,” Obama said after meeting with BP executives. “That amount obviously would be insufficient.

“This $20 billion will provide substantial assurance that the claims people and businesses have will be honored,” the president added. “It’s also important to emphasize this is not a cap. The people of the Gulf have my commitment that BP will meet its obligations to them. BP has publicly pledged to make good on the claims that it owes to the people in the Gulf, and so the agreement we reached sets up a financial and legal framework to do it.”

But, a pair of Georgia Republicans on Wednesday criticized Obama for his handling of the oil spill – with U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., calling the agreement “Chicago-style shakedown politics.”

“These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control,” Price said in a statement. “It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda.”

Meanwhile, during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., said “this administration has punted on its leadership duties and instead left responsibility for managing the cleanup to BP – which may explain why we are still struggling to stop this leak after almost two months.”

“President Obama and his team have failed to take responsibility or show any leadership in crafting our nation’s response to the worst ecological disaster in modern history,” Gingrey said. “Effective leadership is not a televised trip to the gulf or tough talk during an interview – leadership is taking responsibility for fixing a problem regardless of its cause and working with any and all interested parties to do so expeditiously.”

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