House Minority Leader John Boehner has found himself on the defensive after a comment last week that suggested he wanted taxpayers to pick up at least some of the tab for BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
During an appearance on ABC’s This Week Sunday, the top Republican in the House insisted he “said from the beginning” that BP should cover the entire cost of the oil spill. And, in a split with his allies at the US Chamber of Commerce, Boehner now says he supports lifting the liability cap that, under US law, limits BP’s exposure for the oil spill to $75 million.
But last Thursday at a press conference, when TalkingPointsMemo’s Brian Beutler asked Boehner if “the government and taxpayers should pitch in to clean up the oil spill,” Boehner responded: “I think the people responsible in the oil spill–BP and the federal government–should take full responsibility for what’s happening there.”
Since then, Boehner has found himself on the receiving end of criticism from left and right.
“BP needs to pay for the entire cost of this,” Boehner asserted on This Week. But he added, that “this is a failure of government. Government is there to protect our shores, to protect our environment, and there’s been a real failure here. We’ve been asking for 55 days, where’s the inspection reports from this rig? The administration won’t give them to us.”
That prompted a retort from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who noted that congressional Republicans have been stalling on legislation that would lift the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion.
Hoyer said, “I think John Boehner is right in this respect: The psychology of neglect, in terms of regulatory oversight, that was pursued in the Bush administration has led to banking failure, insurance prices going way up, and oil companies thinking they could do whatever they wanted because the ‘drill baby drill’ crowd, all they wanted them to do was drill.”
“How long are you going to blame the Bush administration?” a visibly upset Boehner asked.
“So long as they’re responsible,” Hoyer responded.
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast June 13, 2010.