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Boehner spox: No taxpayer money on Gulf spill cleanup or damages

House GOP leader John Boehner does not believe any taxpayer money should be spent on the cleanup of the Gulf spill or on any damages caused by it, his spokesman confirms to me.

"No taxpayer money for cleanup or damages -- period. BP pays," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel emails.

In case you missed it, Boehner created a bit of a problem for himself earlier today when he seemed to suggest that he supported taxpayer funding for the cleanup. Dems have pounded him for the remarks all day today.

It all started when TPM asked Boehner at his press conference today whether he agrees with the Chamber of Commerce, which has said BP and the Federal government should pitch in to clean up the spill.

Boehner replied: "I think the people responsible in the oil spill -- BP and the federal government -- should take full responsibility for what's happening there."

Boehner's office subsequently clarified, saying he'd misheard the question. His aides pointed to this previous Boehner quote: "Not a dime of taxpayer money should be used to clean up their mess." And Boehner has also said we must "hold BP accountable for the clean up costs."

Those quotes are pretty clear. But the problem is that the Chamber's position is that while BP is on the hook for the cleanup, its liability for damages should be limited, meaning inevitably that taxpayers should bear some of that liability.

Neither Boehner nor his office had directly addressed whether Boehner believes no taxpayer money should go for damages. And it's this distinction that's getting Boehner hammered today.

GOP aides are infuriated by the flap. "This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine."

Perhaps, but the distinction between cleanup and damages is clearly important to the Chamber and to BP. Boehner's office, however, insists that his position on this has been clear throughout.

Either way, asked for more clarification, Boehner spokesman Steel says that when Boehner said no taxpayer money should be spent on the cleanup, that does also include damages.

"No taxpayer money for cleanup or damages -- period," Steel emailed. "BP pays. If the current law doesn't guarantee that, we are happy to work in a bipartisan way on reasonable new legislation."

By Greg Sargent  |  June 10, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Climate change , House GOPers  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

"we are happy to work in a bipartisan way on reasonable new legislation"

Oh really?

That's why his colleagues in the Senate just blocked holding BP to unlimited financial liability.

Explain that one little orange man.

Anyways, lol at the GOP aide response. Boehner knew what he was saying the first time he said it.

Boehner loves taxpayer bailouts of big oil companies. I think it's time to play stupid like Republicans can and no matter how many times they correct themselves, continue the myth....

Boehner wants to bail out BP with taxpayer money.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 10, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

BP broke it. They own it. "Pottery Barn Rules".

Republicans, Big Business Lap Dogs, seek to let BP(Big Polluter) off the hook, and stick it to the innocent tax payers.


British Petroleum should be forced to put at least 20 Billion dollars in escrow, now, toward all future claims.

Appoint an Independent adjudicator to settle all claims. Do not let BP control who gets reimbursed, and how much they should receive.

I would suggest that the escrow fund and adjudication, be administered by the chap who handled the 9/11 compensation funds.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 10, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The blocking of raising the liability cap that is the crucial element of this story. And it SHOULD be getting more press. Because after the cap is reached who the he'll does Boehner think will end up paying? The taxpayers that's who!

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As Falstaff noted of Henry IV, Boehner and the GOP have the habit of not hearing when the news is disagreeable.

Too late pal, the ad spots are probably half-finished.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Boehner: Um, sorry reporters, I can't hear you, the Chamber of Commerce is yelling instructions in my ear.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 10, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"GOP aides are infuriated by the flap."

Oh boo freaking hoo. What do they think Fox News does?

As BG said, too late Mr. Orangman. I can hear the ads now. "Republicans think the tax payer should pay for BP's mistake. Republicans: always on the side of big oil, even in the face of the most catastropic environment event, ever."

Posted by: CTVoter | June 10, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Will this be Carly Fiorina's first attack ad:

Barbara Boxer's Hairstyle Is Bad For California.

Carly Fiorina's Up To Date, Gulf Shore Pelican Style, Is What The Voters Need.

This Ad Was Paid For Out Of A Golden Parachute Payout, Made When Ms. Fiorina Was Fired For Spying, And General Incompetence.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 10, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Silly little liberal noise machine."

Lol! That's a keeper...

Posted by: SteveinSacto | June 10, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually, this is how it really works:

"This is the way the scam works: Conservative bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The RNC emails around their blog post. Then FOX picks up the 'controversy' and the rightwing bloggers and conservative commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own big old corporate-funded noise machine."

Posted by: thebobbob | June 10, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine."

Wow...that guy's got some big huevos.

The rightwing has turned faux outrage into an artform. Didn't we just get through an entire week of Paul McCartney bashing? That only went away because Obama said "a**" on tv and I think that's now being replaced by Obama saying that he hadn't spoken to the BP CEO.

They wouldn't know what to do with their hands if they weren't clutching at their pearls.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Update:

No response yet from Bill Kristol on my Texas Cage Match challenge.

I'll let you all know if I hear anything.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 10, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Greg, you give them too much credit with the word "perhaps."

"GOP aides are infuriated by the flap. "This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine." "

This is not a description of a liberal noise machine, but the conservative noise machine, aka The Wurlitzer.

The difference is that there was nothing FAKE about this controversy: Beutler's question was clear, and Boehner booted it. If he didn't hear it well, he should have said, 'Im sorry, could you repeat that?' But he answered immediately, with a clear intent to support the CoC's position. It's Boehner who is the numbnut in this contretemps.

Posted by: andrewlong | June 10, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

All the states that are being devestated by the BP(Big Polluter) Gulf Water Chernobyl, are Red States,

So if the Republicans want to tell the residents of those states; You pay for the damages, and not BP, that is fine with me.

Republicans; put up or shut up. You always claim that States should be allowed to handle things, without the Federal Government stepping in.

Well, now is the time for you to get your wish. All the states affected by the spill have Republican Governors. Tell them to take care of the big spill on their own, and to make their own states pay the costs of clean up and recovery.

You know: "Get Government Of The Backs Of The States And Big Business."

Congressman John Boehner has made a good start, but he needs all your support on this issue.

Speak Out Republicans. Rescue BP, before it drowns.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 10, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: I've got to give you props for printing this:

"This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy...The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine."

Ain't that the truth. (Someone above even wants to use this in an advertisement to misrepresent Boner's opinion!)

But Greg, good for you. You seem to recognize that this is the game and I am glad to see that you aren't playing it.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 10, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"we are happy to work in a bipartisan way on reasonable new legislation"

HAHA!

LET'S SEE IT!

UNTIL THEN IT'S JUST WORDS, FOOL.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 10, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

What George Hamilton's little brother (Boehner) really said:

"Danger, danger, Will Robinson!! Liability cost company mucho dinero...does not compute!!"

What Boehner and EVERY elected official should be forced to recite on the steps of the Capitol, in unison:

"BP will pay every fangula nickel of this spill's clean up and compensation costs. If it bleeds the company dry and destroys the corporation, so be it!"

Posted by: ned99 | June 10, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

A must win game for the Celtics tonight.

A fantastic hockey game last night.

Ice Hockey looks great in HiDef. The frantic end to end pace of hockey, like last night's game, makes basketball hard to watch. It is so plodding, and slow, with so many free shots being awarded.


Great to see Chicago Hockey back on the map, and it is also great to see that the goon era, where fights and brawls were the norm, has mostly ended.

Congratulations to The Chicago Blackhawks. Well done.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse


Republicans hold the record for contradicting themselves. Wonder what he will say tomorrow.

Posted by: edanddot | June 10, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Greg, quoted what a Republican operative said, and lying little weasel, SBJ, pretends that Greg was the one who actually said the words.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 10, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Senators voting in the affirmative for Murkowski's (piece of sh_t) resolution of disapproval of the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gasses:

DEMS: Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Mark Pryor, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Jay Rockefeller

"MODERATES": Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Scott Brown

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/6/10/874817/-Lincoln,-with-us-on-everything-but-allowing-EPA-to-do-its-work

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Boehner has to make up his mind. Either he supports the Chamber of Commerce's stated position that taxpayers should pay or he doesn't. He can't flip flop around like that.

Posted by: jwendland | June 10, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

ha! boehner

Posted by: Crackman | June 10, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

sgwhite's point is key. Do we have any clarification from Boehner's office on whether BP pays all damages in excess of the cap? Obviously if Boehner's position is that the cap is adequate and if liability costs exceed that limit then the taxpayers will be paying. Any chance of you getting this exact point clarified (if it hasn't been)?

Posted by: bernielatham | June 10, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"No response yet from Bill Kristol on my Texas Cage Match challenge. I'll let you all know if I hear anything."

Save me a front row seat so when you throw him out of the cage I can kick him in his big fat head.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess we can count on his vote to remove the cap so BP is legally liable...

Posted by: soapm | June 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"GOP aides are infuriated by the flap. "This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine.""

This is GOP SOP, just like it was for Goebbels: Ignore reality and accuse your adversary of what you are doing. Gotta give Rove credit: he learned propaganda from the best.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

""This is the way the scam works: Liberal bloggers gin up a fake controversy," one groused. "The DNC emails around their blog post. Then MSNBC picks up the 'controversy' and the liberal bloggers and liberal commentators go on TV and talk about the latest figment of their own silly little liberal noise machine."

He's been watching so much Fox he thinks all networks do the same. Jon Stewart was very accurate how this works on the right...

Posted by: soapm | June 10, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Exactly who is Agent Orange giving our money to if the money isn't for damages and it isn't for cleanup? An oil executive relief fund?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 10, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Boehner is a clear target here for clarification and his office must be pressed further to get an explicit position on damages exceeding the cap...because taxpayers WILL pay if BP's liability costs are capped.

But it might be as productive to go doggedly after Donahue at the Chamber of Commerce as well. If enough reporters cover Donahue's present position then it will become increasingly apparent to citizens what the C of C proposes and who is going to suffer.

This organization needs to be outed.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 10, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/happy_hour_roundup_26.html

...and agreed, Bernie, there's lots more clarification necessary. Including whether he supports current efforts to ensure that BP is fully liable

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 10, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Definitely a lefty blog-generated nontroversy. That's EXACTLY the way the "scam" works, and all the libs here know it perfectly well, because this blog and they are a big part of it.

Donahue's original answer to the question was confusing but clearly about ex post facto lifting of the damage cap.

The question to Boehner was confused and somewhat misleading as well.

"But the problem is that the Chamber's position is that while BP is on the hook for the cleanup, its liability for damages should be limited, meaning inevitably that taxpayers should bear some of that liability."

Not true. If BP were not liable for all damages, it would NOT mean that taxpayers would bear the rest.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 10, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

"Reasonable" legislation = Republican-written legislation. That is, if history is any guide. I'm going to file this one away for when the GOP comes out against whatever legislation the dems cook up.

Posted by: wiscoman | June 10, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@quarterback1

"If BP were not liable for all damages, it would NOT mean that taxpayers would bear the rest."

Then who would? You have a magic leprechaun we can get to pay for all this?

Posted by: wiscoman | June 10, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"Not true. If BP were not liable for all damages, it would NOT mean that taxpayers would bear the rest."

Show me where Greg says "taxpayers would bear the rest"....he said "some of that liability" which is precisely what Mr. Donahue said in his statement:

"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.”

Unless, of course, you don't believe money "from the government" means money from the "taxpayer".

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 10, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"Then who would? You have a magic leprechaun we can get to pay for all this?"

You are operating on a false premise or a misconception. Damages (if damages they are) might simply not be compensated.

That's what happens as often as not. They are just borne by those who incur them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 10, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

And I should have said, that's what happens most of the time when the government hurts people with regulations and regulatory actions.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 10, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

"Show me where Greg says "taxpayers would bear the rest"....he said "some of that liability" which is precisely what Mr. Donahue said in his statement"

First, you're wrong because that is precisely what Greg is saying here -- the government would be liable for "some" of the damages if BP's liability is capped, i.e., the portion beyond the cap.

Second, your objection is irrelevant to the point, which was that the cap on BP's liability would not, as Greg claims, "inevitably" mean that taxpayers would bear ANY of the rest. (Of course, if you think about it, if the government were not liable for the whole remainder, it wouldn't be liable for a portion, either, so your whole objection is illogical.)

Third, you mischaracterize Donahue, who did NOT say "precisely" what Greg says. As quoted at TPM:

""It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game.... 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.""

The sentence you quote refers to the clean up, not damages, but, more importantly, while he refers to getting cleanup money from the government, he does not suggest, as Greg does, that the government is inevitably responsible for any damages not covered by BP. That is Greg's invention.

So, you are wrong from just about every angle possible.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 10, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Boner's just quoting the party's mantra:

"I know you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

Posted by: b_bradlee | June 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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