Will Congress Stand With Joe Barton, BP and Big Oil—or Stand Up for a Clean Energy Future?

June 23, 2010

New TV Ad:  Will Congress Stand With Joe Barton, BP and Big Oil -- or Stand Up for a Clean Energy Future?


With Major Clean Energy and Climate Legislation on the Horizon in the Senate, It’s Gut Check Time for Senate Republicans Addicted to Big Oil Money


Click Here to Watch ‘The Choice’ :



Washington D.C. – With a likely vote in the Senate on the horizon on major clean energy and climate legislation, Senate Republicans need to make clear whether they stand with Congressman Joe “I apologize” Barton (R-TX) and big oil -- or with the American people who ready more than ever before for a clean energy future in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.   Americans United for Change unveiled a new TV ad in the nation’s capital making the choice clear, which begins airing this Thursday on MSNBC, FOX News and CNN in Washington.


Tom McMahon, Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “Even in the face of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the reaction was the same it’s always been for Joe Barton, potential chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and many of his Republican colleagues: ‘big oil’s bottom line always comes first.’  Barton took the Grand Oil Party’s longstanding governing philosophy towards oil companies to absurd new heights by worrying about whether BP’s feelings were hurt over the needs of the spill victims in the Gulf. And now it’s gut check time for Senate Republicans who need to decide if they’re going to continue to stand with the likes of Joe Barton and do the bidding of big oil – or participate constructively towards building a clean energy future.   Big oil money has polluted our politics and environment enough.”


“If Republicans continue to stand in the way of clean energy legislation, they need to explain to their constituents why they want to keep America on the course of importing more and more Mid-East oil and putting more and more money into the hands of our enemies,” added McMahon.





Americans United For Change: The Choice

Date: 6/22/10






Narrator: The same people who are apologizing to BP…


U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) “apologized” directly to BP CEO Tony Hayward at a Congressional hearing: "I am ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday, that a private corporation would be subject to what I would characterize as a shake down," said Barton. The fund, he said, "amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that is unprecedented in our nation's history" and "sets a terrible precedent for the future. "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 it is subject to political pressure that amounts to a shake down," Barton continued. [Mother Jones, 6/17/10]

The 114 Member Republican Study Committee Called The The $20 Billion BP Escrow Account A “Chicago-Style Political Shakedown.” The Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus with 114 Republican members, released a statement calling the $20 billion BP escrow account a "Chicago-style political shakedown." "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 politic… 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."[RSC, 6/16/10]


Michele Bachmann Said That Holding BP Accountable Is “Extortion” And A “Redistribution-Of-Wealth.” Appearing at a Heritage Foundation event, Michele Bachmann characterized the $20 billion escrow fund that the administration brokered with BP amounted to “extortion.” She went on to say “The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund.” [Minnesota Independent6/16/10]


Republican Congressman Said Barton Was “Spot On.” Appearing on the conservative Laura Ingraham Show, Republican Rep. Steve King said “I think Joe Barton was spot-on when he called it a 'shakedown.' That's part of this administration's process.” [The Hill6/21/10]


Narrator: and taking record amounts of big oil contributions…


Senate Republicans Have Accepted At Least $18.6 Million From Big Oil.Since 1989, members of the Senate Republican Caucus for the 111th Congress have accepted at least $18,690,814 from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics, 6/4/10; CQ MoneyLine, 6/7/10]


Narrator: are now blocking clean energy and climate legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Is Committed To Killing Comprehensive Climate And Energy Legislation. In an article about bipartisan negotiations to introduce a climate and energy bill sponsored by Kerry, Graham and Lieberman – the foundation for the American Power Act – Bloomberg report “The measure will need ‘significant bipartisan cooperation’ to pass, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said today in an e-mail. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in an e-mail he will oppose it. ‘Whatever its intentions, this bill is little more than a job-killing national energy tax,’ McConnell said.” [Bloomberg5/12/10]


Narrator: Congress has a choice: Will they stand with Joe Barton, BP and big oil or with a clean energy and climate plan and the new jobs, less pollution and greater security it brings?

The American Power Act Invests $5 Billion In Clean Energy And Reigns In Offshore Drilling Rules. According to the executive summary of the American Power Act, the bill would expand the clean energy manufacturing tax credit by $5 billion and forces offshore drilling rigs further offshore.  [Kerry, 5/12/10]

A Berkley University Study Concluded That Comprehensive Climate Legislation Could Create Up To 1.9 Million Jobs. “A New analysis by the University of California shows conclusively that climate policy will strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year, and boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion. These economic gains are over and above the growth the U.S. would see in the absence of such a bill.” [UC Berkley, 9/28/09]


Pentagon: “Climate Change, Energy Security And Economic Stability Are Inextricably Linked.” In 2010, the Department of Defense released the Quadrennial Defense Review and for the first time ever, the report included a section on climate change. The report said that “Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security and economic stability are inextricably linked.” [New York Times2/1/10]


Visual: Paid for by Americans United For Change