Rep. Cantor Contradicts GOP Lawmakers On BP Escrow Fund

June 17, 2010 11:04 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Rep. Eric Cantor

In a meeting with President Obama yesterday, BP executives "agreed to pay $20 billion into an escrow account to cover claims associated with the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico." Shortly after the announcement, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) acknowledged the positive step, saying, "You gotta commend the president on establishing that fund."

His fellow Republicans, however, haven't been so generous.  For example, the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of conservative lawmakers chaired by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), issued a statement calling the fund a "Chicago-style political shakedown."   

Rep. Cantor: 

You gotta commend the president on establishing that fund.  

Republican Study Committee: 

BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House's new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of 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.  It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda.  The American people know much better.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and a chorus of conservative media figures have also bashed the escrow fund.  So does Cantor still believe President Obama should be commended, or will he bow down to the far right?

Update: On Fox News this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) seemed to agree with Cantor.  "I'm glad that BP has accepted responsibility for their actions," he said.