Posts Tagged ‘Sen. John Cornyn’

Obamacare “Navigators”: Another Sebelius Snitch Brigade?

by Michelle Malkin on Thursday, May 30th, 2013

This is article 438 of 686 in the topic Healthcare

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Obamacare “Navigators”: Another Sebelius Snitch Brigade?
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2013

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius controls a $54 million slush fund to hire thousands of “navigators,” “in-person assisters” and counselors who will propagandize and enroll Obamacare recipients in government-run health insurance exchanges. This nanny-state navigator corps is the Mother of all Community Organizing Boondoggles. It’s also yet another Obama threat to Americans’ privacy.

A reminder about Secretary Sebelius’ sordid snooping history is in order here. In August 2009, HHS and the White House Office of Health Reform called on their ground troops to report on fellow citizens who dared to criticize their federal health care takeover. Team Obama issued an all-points bulletin on the taxpayer-funded White House website soliciting informant emails. Remember?

“If you get an email or see something on the Web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov,” the Obamacare overlords urged. The feds even singled out conservative Internet powerhouse Matt Drudge because he had featured a video compilation of Obama and other Democrats — in their own words — exposing the “public option” as a Trojan Horse for government-run health care and the elimination of private industry.

Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn protested at the time that “these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program.” The flagging operation was shut down, but a plethora of federal disclosure exemptions protect the Obama administration from revealing what was collected, who was targeted and what was done with the database information.

White House lapdogs dismissed the concerns of conservatives as paranoid delusions. Now, fast-forward three years. In light of the draconian IRS witch hunt against tea party groups and the Justice Department’s plundering of journalists’ phone records and email accounts, every tax-subsidized Obama “outreach” initiative warrants heightened scrutiny.

Obamacare navigators will have access to highly personal data from potential “customers” to assess their “needs.” That means income levels, birthdates, addresses, eligibility for government assistance, Social Security numbers and sensitive medical information. They’ll be targeting both individuals and small businesses. Anyone they can lay their grubby hands on. Who’s getting the navigator grants and training? “Community groups” in 33 states that naturally include socialized medicine-supporting unions and Saul Alinsky-steeped activist outfits.

On Capitol Hill last week, a top Obamacare official told GOP lawmakers that navigators will not be required to undergo background checks. Criminal records are not automatically disqualifying — and that includes identity theft. The federal rule-makers will require online training of a measly 20 hours. Health care regulations watchdog Betsy McCaughey adds that navigators “don’t have to know math or insurance, but rules announced April 5 specify you have to match the race, ethnicity and language preferences of the neighborhood that will be targeted.”

The Obamacare navigator corps smacks of ACORN redux, stocked with demographically tailored Democratic Party recruitment operatives, not objective, informed insurance experts.

Sebelius and her enforcers promise strict neutrality and clean conduct. The bureaucrats say there will be severe consequences for violating citizens’ privacy or breaking any other laws. Pffft. The Office of Special Counsel determined that Secretary Sebelius herself violated the federal Hatch Act prohibition on exploiting her HHS leadership position for partisan activity last fall.

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Another Obamacare deadline missed

by Doug Powers on Monday, April 29th, 2013

This is article 423 of 686 in the topic Healthcare

By that much

From the ever expanding “cart before the horse” file in the Obamacare drawer we find this:

Under President Obama’s 2010 health law, the government officials in charge of keeping Medicaid afloat have until Tuesday to report whether costs for the fiscally foundering program will exceed expectations.

But they won’t have anywhere to send their report.

That’s because the Independent Payment Advisory Board – perhaps the most controversial entity created under Obama’s law – still doesn’t exist.

This 15-member board, denounced by critics as a “death panel,” is tasked under the law with determining which patients ought to receive which treatments and whether taxes ought to be raised to finance the program.

So far Obamacare is like Serling’s Flight 33 trying to find Idlewild Airport.

What’s the delay?

Why isn’t IPAB up and running?

But the board is still stalled, CQ Weekly notes, because many challenges block its implementation.

All 15 members named to the panel must be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. CQ Weekly notes that any Obama nomination to the board is unlikely to obtain the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

“The president couldn’t even get [Don Berwick] appointed to run the Medicare program,” says Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), adding, “And the head of Medicare has far less power than these board members will have.”

The board may hold little appeal for qualified candidates. In addition to the intense Senate scrutiny, ACA requires that IPAB members have certain skills and backgrounds, such as actuarial science experts and health professionals, and prohibits members from maintaining any other employment during their six-year board terms.

Moreover, CQ Weekly notes that the Obama administration need not rush to find and confirm candidates. Although the board must begin producing reports in 2014, it is unlikely that it will commence its cost-cutting responsibilities in the near future. The Congressional Budget Office earlier this year said Medicare would remain below the spending threshold through to 2022.

And if if the IPAB can never be formed due to political complexities (and it sounds like it never will be — perhaps by design), that contingency has already been covered:

If IPAB fails to produce a spending report when Medicare has hit its spending threshold, the ACA gives IPAB’s responsibility to the secretary of HHS.

By the time all is said and done, Max Baucus’s “train wreck” prediction will have been a best-case scenario.

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Nice friends you got there, Harry and Barry

by Michelle Malkin on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

You know all that Democratic talk about getting big, dirty money out of politics?

Never mind.

Via Reuters:

National fundraising committees for the Democratic and Republican parties, President Barack Obama, and other major politicians have declined to return campaign donations totaling $1.8 million from Houston financier R. Allen Stanford, now on trial for allegedly masterminding a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

The court-appointed receiver charged with returning money to Stanford investors obtained a federal court order last June against five Democratic and Republican campaigns. But they haven’t returned the money. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $950,500; the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), $238,500; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $200,000; the Republican National Committee $128,500, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) $83,345.

The contributions to the campaign committees and candidates were given by Stanford himself, Stanford executives, and a political action committee associated with the financier.

The receiver, Ralph Janvey, is also trying to claw back money Stanford donated to individual politicians. The list of his recipients reads like a who’s who of Washington, including President Obama – who received $4,600 from Stanford in his 2008 election campaign – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the NRCC, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. Janvey is seeking these funds informally, and has not filed lawsuits.

Money has already been returned by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, among others. But the roughly $154,000 recovered from elected officials is a fraction of the $1.8 million still outstanding.

The $4,600 Janvey is seeking from the Obama campaign reflects only direct contributions from Allen Stanford himself. The total may be as high $31,000 when Stanford’s contributions to Obama’s other campaign committees are included, along with money from senior Stanford executives, and the Stanford Financial Group’s now defunct PAC, according to campaign finance records and an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

…The receiver first wrote to the Obama campaign five days after it gave the money to charity in 2009, asking that it instead be returned to investors.

“If you have already donated such amounts to charity, we request you consider donating an equal amount to the Receivership,” Janvey wrote back on February 23, 2009. “By returning such amounts to the Receivership Estate, you will help reduce the losses suffered by victims of the alleged fraud.”

More tainted cash out West:

Federal investigators have reportedly been handing down subpoenas in the case of a Nevada political operative who allegedly made illegal campaign contributions to politicians like Sen. Harry Reid, and who is also embroiled in a heated legal battle with former business partners that involves accusations about everything from murder threats to jewel thefts.
The case began with a lawsuit by Harvey Whittemore’s former business partners, Thomas Seeno, his brother Albert Seeno Jr. and his son Albert Seeno III, who accused Whittemore of misappropriating and embezzling over $40 million from Wingfield Nevada Group Holding Company LLC, a limited liability company in Nevada.

Whittemore is a lawyer and former lobbyist with political ties all over the state, and he and his wife have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats and Republicans alike, including Sen. Harry Reid (D), Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), Sen. Dean Heller (R) and former Sen.

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House rejects Balanced Budget Amendment, 261-165

by Michelle Malkin on Saturday, November 19th, 2011

This is article 311 of 520 in the topic Government Spending

No surprise here. BBA just got voted down in the House, falling short of two-thirds’ majority needed.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and three other Republicans voted no because the gesture BBA wasn’t tough enough : “I’m concerned that this version will lead to a much bigger government fueled by more taxes.”

A refresher course on the proposal’s flaws from Mario Loyola (h/t Whitney Pitcher):

Basically, all the House resolution would do is require a bare supermajority (three fifths) of Congress to override the prohibition on deficit spending. There is no limitation on taxation or total spending, so the amendment could be enforced by a catastrophic across-the-board tax increase. Instead of spending at 25 percent of GDP, taxing at 15 percent of GDP, and borrowing the rest (as the Obama budgets have done), we could find ourselves both taxing and spending at 25 percent of GDP. Without a strict limitation on taxation and spending, a balanced-budget amendment by itself could do more harm than good. As Sen. John Cornyn (R., Tex.) noted yesterday, “Let’s all remember that the disease in Washington is out-of-control spending, and budget deficits and the debt are really symptoms of that disease.”

…In today’s political climate, a balanced-budget amendment with strict spending limits may have dim prospects of getting the required two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress and the required 38 states. But at some point, Americans are going to get really tired of high unemployment, anemic growth, and general malaise, and they’re going to stop believing the empty promises of those who say we need even more government to solve a problem that is clearly the fault of too much government. What made America great over two centuries was a combination of economic freedom, limited government, and self-reliance. We can only hope that those ideals will once again command the adherence of a great majority of us. At that point, ratification of a strong constitutional limit on taxing, spending, and borrowing will have a much greater chance of ratification than it does today.

Rebuilding that consensus will take time — all the more reason to start now.

It will also take more Tea Party-backed candidates winning office to make this rhetoric a reality.

Here’s the roll call vote.

More on the vote here.

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Look who’s throwing IPAB under the bus

by Michelle Malkin on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Today, the House held a second hearing on the rogue board of Medicare spending czars created by Obamacare. This mother of all death panels is known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). My column looks at growing Democrat opposition to the entity, which would have unprecedented authority over health care spending. Seven Dems are co-sponsors of a House IPAB repeal bill On the Senate side, GOP Sen. John Cornyn is introducing an IPAB repeal bill.

Here’s GOP Rep. Paul Ryan schooling HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on patient-centered Medicare reform. Here’s AEI fellow Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s testimony. Here’s a look at the fatal effect of IPAB on medical innovation. Here’s Philip Klein catching Sebelius’s false assertion this morning that IPAB decisions can be challenged in court. And here’s background on the Goldwater Institute’s federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of IPAB.

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Rolling back the Obamacare Banana Republic
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2011

A rising chorus of repeal-mongers, outraged at the Obama administration’s federal health care power grab, took over Washington this week. Nope, it’s not the tea party. It’s Democrats Against the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Yes, Democrats.

What’s IPAB? A Beltway acronym for subverting the deliberative process.

The 15-member panel of government-appointed bureaucrats was slipped into Section 3403 of the Obamacare law against the objection of more than 100 House members on both sides of the aisle. IPAB’s experts would wield unprecedented authority over Medicare spending — and in time, over an expanding jurisdiction of private health care payment rates — behind closed doors.

Freed from the normal administrative rules process — public notice, public comment, public review — that governs every other federal commission in existence.

Without the possibility of judicial review.

And liberated from congressional oversight except through an onerous accountability procedure.

Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted IPAB as a “key part” of Obamacare. The president himself crusaded for giving the board even more regulatory “tools” to usurp congressional power over health care allocations. And he has the audacity to blame Republicans for creating a “banana republic”? Hmph.

The conservative Arizona-based Goldwater Institute has filed suit in federal court to stop IPAB. “No possible reading of the Constitution supports the idea of an unelected, standalone federal board that’s untouchable by both Congress and the courts,” says the think tank’s litigation director, Clint Bolick. But it’s the growing opposition from members of the administration’s own party that may yet doom these health care czars on steroids.

According to Politico, “New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, has zero interest in defending the board. ‘I’ve never supported it, and I would certainly be in favor of abolishing it.’” If that’s not clear enough, Pallone added that he’s “opposed to independent commissions or outside groups playing a role other than on a recommendatory basis.” Period.

Another House Democrat, Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, is one of seven Democratic IPAB repeal co-sponsors and is scheduled to testify Wednesday at a second House hearing blasting the board.

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Notes on Obama rejecting short-term debt ceiling hike

by John Lott on Thursday, July 7th, 2011

This is article 215 of 520 in the topic Government Spending

A copy of Obama’s public statement is available here. Obama seems to want to push for a tax increase and a short-term deal would make it much easier to make a deal without a tax increase. Interestingly, even Bill Clinton has advised for a short-term deal based on the what both sides could agree to on spending cuts.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) over the weekend said a short-term “mini” deal could be necessary, and on Tuesday he described a short-term increase to the debt ceiling as “more likely than not.”

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and former President Clinton have also suggested that the White House and Congress consider a short-term hike to the debt ceiling.

House Republicans, however, have pushed back hard against such suggestions.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office said Tuesday that Cantor “has said repeatedly that he doesn’t think a short-term deal could pass the House.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), appearing on the “Laura Ingraham Show,” also spoke negatively of the idea, arguing that it would take pressure off lawmakers to reduce spending.

“What they want to do is buy as much time as possible until the election with as little damage to big government as possible,” he said, referring to congressional Democrats. “If they can just stall, win in 2012, they can keep us on this path … they just don’t want to take the medicine.” . . . .

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Do Not Forget About the U.S. Senate!

by Jason Whitman on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

This is article 94 of 1300 in the topic 2012 Elections

Sen. John Cornyn - Chairman NRSC

 

Conservatives and conservative pundits have been engaged in much hand-wringing about the selection of a candidate that can defeat President Obama in 2012. I am concerned, obviously, about the candidate that will ultimately win the Republican nomination, but I am also very concerned about the possibility that conservatives will not focus the necessary resources on ensuring a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

Even if Obama does win re-election in 2012, Republican control of the Senate would effectively put the brakes on most of the horrendous policies this administration has been advancing. In this case, gridlock is clearly preferable to unrestricted advancement of President Obama and the Democrat’s destructive socialist agenda. Obviously, it will not help in the area of foreign policy which is also on a precarious slippery slope into irrelevance. I find that quite ironic considering during the campaign the President said he would return the U.S. to a place of prominence in global foreign policy. Things started looking bad when he gave the Queen of England an iPod.

Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod

Needless to say, we need to be choosing quality, ELECTABLE candidates for the 23 seats up for election that are currently held by Democrats. It is also imperative that we hold onto the 10 seats up for play on the Republican ticket. Please get involved in the process with both time and capital investments. We can not afford to lose the U.S. Senate to Democrats.

Here are the seats currently up for grabs:

  1. Arizona, John Kyl (R)
  2. California, Dianne Feinstein (D) (and don’t call her m’am either, she worked hard for that title)
  3. Connecticut, Joe Lieberman (I)
  4. Delaware, Tom Carper (D)
  5. Florida, Bill Nelson (D)
  6. Hawaii, Daniel Akaka(D)
  7. Indiana, Richard Lugar (R)
  8. Massachusetts, Scott Brown (R)
  9. Maryland, Ben Cardin (D)
  10. Maine, Olympia Snowe (R)
  11. Michigan, Debbie Stabenow (D)
  12. Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar (D)
  13. Missouri, Claire McCaskill (D)
  14. Mississippi, Roger Wicker (R)
  15. Montana, Jon Tester (D)
  16. North Dakota, Kent Conrad (D)
  17. Nebraska, Ben Nelson (D)
  18. New Jersey, Bob Menedez (D)
  19. New Mexico, Jeff Bingaman (D)
  20. Nevada, John Ensign (R)
  21. New York, Kirsten Gillebrand (D)
  22. Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D)
  23. Pennsylvania, Bob Casey (D)
  24. Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
  25. Tennessee, Bob Corker (R)
  26. Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
  27. Utah, Orrin Hatch (R)
  28. Virginia, Jim Webb (D)
  29. Vermont, Bernie Sanders (I)
  30. Washington, Maria Cantwell (D)
  31. Wisconsin, Herb Kohl (D)
  32. West Virginia, Joe Manchin (D)
  33. Wyoming, John Barrasso (R)

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Another head-banging-against-the-wall moment: Senate GOP protects Evita Murkowski

by Michelle Malkin on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

This is article 54 of 262 in the topic energy

Yesterday, GOP Sen. John Cornyn said it was “pretty clear” that sore loser Sen. Lisa “Evita” Murkowski would lose her energy post:

“Senator Murkowski has submitted her resignation by share of the Congress last Friday. There’s also an issue as to whether or not its appropriate for her under the circumstances to continue as ranking member on the energy committee. Both of those issues will be addressed tomorrow afternoon,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

Senator John Cornyn, Texas Republican and Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told reporters that “it’s pretty clear” that Senate Republicans will move to vote Ms. Murkowski out of her leadership position on the energy committee.

“I think it’s the appropriate thing to do. When you choose not to accept the judgement of the primary voters and to run as a write-in and not be the Republican nominee, it has consequences,” he said.

Twenty-four short hours later, the Senate Republicans backpedaled faster than circus clowns on a high wire. Via WSJ, Sen. Orrin Hatch said it was a matter of “good taste.”

In a rare triumph for Senate traditionalists in this anti-establishment year, Republicans Wednesday decided not to punish Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) by stripping her of a powerful committee post.

Senate Republicans, angered by Murkowski’s decision to run for re-election as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican primary, met behind closed doors to consider demoting her from her post as top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a prized perch for her resource-rich state.

But with the committee unlikely to conduct any further business this year and the act seen as largely symbolic, Republicans decided not to add insult to her injury at the hands of Joe Miller, the tea party-backed candidate who beat her in the primary.

“We all respect the system, and she still is a Republican senator,’’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah.) after the closed party caucus. “It’s just a matter of good taste. We decided to keep the status quo as long as she’s a senator.’’

Ah, the perks of entrenched incumbency and senatorial comity.

Nope, the Senate Republicans still don’t get it. Like so many Beltway GOP boyz club members.

Time to resurrect the famous head-banging-against-the-wall GOP=Stupid Party graphic


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Allahpundit at Hot Air wants answers:

If Murkowski somehow let them know that she’d vote Democratic in the lame-duck if they stripped her of Energy seniority — I’m not saying she did, but if — then the caucus should reveal that to the world so that fencesitting Republicans in Alaska know exactly what kind of snake they’re dealing with here. It’s amazing to me that they were promising to boot her yesterday and, 24 hours later, suddenly they’ve reversed themselves and don’t want to talk about it. Spill it.

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The Obamacare Inquisitions: A brief, brutish history

by Michelle Malkin on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The Obamacare Inquisitions: A Brief, Brutish History
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is just the latest creepy keeper of the Obamacare enemies list. The White House has been keeping tabs on individual and corporate critics of the federal health care takeover for more than a year. It started with the health czar’s Internet Snitch Brigade. Remember?

Last August, the White House Office of Health Reform called on its ground troops to report on fellow citizens who talked smack about the Democratic plan. Team Obama issued an all-points bulletin on the taxpayer-funded White House website soliciting informant e-mails:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

Then-health czar office spokeswoman Linda Douglass appeared in an accompanying video singling out conservative Internet powerhouse Matt Drudge. Why? Because his website featured a video compilation of Obama and other Democrats — in their own words — exposing the “public option” as a Trojan Horse for government-run health care and the elimination of private industry.

The Obama dog whistle rang out loud and clear: Report online dissidents immediately.

Calling on the White House to cease and desist, GOP Sen. John Cornyn pointed out that “these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. … I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward e-mails critical of his policies to the White House.” The flagging operation was shut down, but a plethora of federal disclosure exemptions protect the Obama administration from revealing what was collected, who was targeted and what was done with the “fishy” database information.

In February, the White House coordinated a demonization campaign against Anthem Blue Cross in California for raising rates. Obama singled out the company in a “60 Minutes” interview, and Sebelius sent a nasty-gram demanding that Anthem “justify” its rate hikes to the federal government. A private company trying to survive in the marketplace was forced to “explain” itself to federal bureaucrats and career politicians who have never run a business (successful or otherwise) in their lives. Sebelius went even further. She called on Anthem to provide public disclosure on how the rate increases would be spent — a mandate that no other private companies must follow.

We already have a federal pay czar requiring companies to justify their pay raises and claiming authority to claw back bonuses already paid. Will the White House next demand that other businesses — not just health insurers — justify price increases deemed unreasonable, excessive or “extraordinary”?

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Cornyn: Obama has become ‘claims adjuster-in-chief’

by Jon Ward on Thursday, June 17th, 2010

In this photograph provided by "Meet the Press," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, appears on "Meet the Press'" Sunday, May 23, 2010, at the NBC studios in Washington. (AP Photo/Meet The Press, William B. Plowman) MANDATORY CREDIT: WILLIAM B. PLOWMAN, MEET THE PRESS, NO SALES

A senior Republican senator on Thursday said he shares some concerns expressed by Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who caused a furor on Capitol Hill and a quick rebuke from the White House by apologizing to a BP executive.

Barton said he was “ashamed” that President Obama had forced the oil company to put $20 billion into an escrow account to be administered by an attorney already working for the government and chosen by Obama. Barton called it “a $20 billion shakedown.”

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, indicated he was sympathetic to Barton’s point of view.

“I think it’s good that there’s going to be some money there,” Cornyn said to a handful of reporters. “But I think the part that Representative Barton is expressing some concern about, that I share the concern, is that this has become a political issue for the president and he’s trying to deal with it by showing how tough he’s being against BP.”

“The president’s kind of gone from commander-in-chief to claims adjuster-in-chief,” Cornyn said. “I just think the federal government finds itself in a crisis situation and finds itself embedding the federal government in what heretofore usually has been resolved by legal contracts and the requirements of the law.”

Other Republican leaders distanced themselves from Barton’s comments. House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said he disagreed with Barton’s remarks.

“BP agreed to fund the cost of this cleanup from the beginning and I’m glad they are being held accountable,” Boehner told reporters.

Barton made his remarks during testimony by BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

“I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, that’s got no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for the future,” Barton said.

“I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize,” Barton said.

He added that he supported subcommittee chairman Rep. Bart Stupak, Pennsylvania Democrat, in submitting Hayward to tough questioning.

“There are questions that need to be asked that are legitimate because we don’t want another oil spill of this magnitude,” Barton said.

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