Boehner: Taxpayers Should Bail Out BP
by Nathan Empsall, Fri Jun 11, 2010 at 03:06:09 AM EDT
Lisa Murkowski’s failed EPA disapproval resolution had two nicknames: the Dirty Air Act and the Big Oil Bailout. The former was more appropriate, since the resolution wouldn’t have given any money directly to the oil industry. Murkowski’s ideas are bad, but not that bad. John Boehner’s ideas, on the other hand, really are that bad.
The House Republican leader, a long time beneficiary of BP campaign contributions, said yesterday that taxpayers should foot the bill for cleaning up BP’s mess in the Gulf Coast. His comments followed a similar statement from the conservative US Chamber of Commerce. From TPMDC:
In response to a question from TPMDC, House Minority Leader John Boehner said he believes taxpayers should help pick up the tab for the clean up.
"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there," Boehner said at his weekly press conference this morning.
Boehner's statement followed comments last Friday by US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue who said he opposes efforts to stick BP, a member of the Chamber, with the bill. "It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game," he said. "Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that."
This is blatant hypocrisy from Boehner, whose office said just this week that “The federal government should be focused on getting its own fiscal house in order, not providing more bailouts with taxpayer money.” Still, we shouldn’t be surprised – according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Energy and Natural Resources sector has been Boehner’s fifth largest source of contributions over the course of his career to the tune of $896,148, including $15,200 from BP. In general, BP has given twice as much to Republican candidates as it has to Democratic candidates.
Michael Steel, the Repub leader’s spokesperson (not the RNC chair), has been backpedaling furiously since the press conference, telling Greg Sargent, “No taxpayer money for cleanup or damages -- period. BP pays," and the Huffington Post that “Boehner made a general statement… but he has said repeatedly that BP is responsible for the cost of the cleanup." As the HuffPo’s Jason Linkins points out, though, “Do you agree… [that] taxpayers should pitch in to clean up the oil spill?" is a pretty specific question, and Boehner said what he said. Yet even if Steel does succeed in rewriting history and walking back the leader’s comments, the Chamber of Commerce’s Donohue was even more specific when he said “we are going to have to get the money from the government.” Spin it any way you want, but these are the stated beliefs of the modern Republican Party: oligarchy first, and the people only if there’s time left over.