Second Republican Demands Barton Step Down From Energy Post

A second Republican Congressman has asked Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to resign as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee after Barton apologized to BP yesterday.

Rep. Jo Bonner, who represents an Alabama coastal district, said in a statement that Barton should step down.

“We all make mistakes and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said something at one time or
another that he wished he hadn’t said,” the statement begins. Bonner said that Barton called him this morning to personally apologize.“It takes a big person to admit they were wrong and I appreciated Joe’s call. However, as I told him, I believe the damage of his comments are beyond repair and, as such, I am today calling on Joe to do the right thing for our conference and immediately step aside as Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee,” Bonner wrote.

Republican leadership yesterday threatened Barton, saying they’d revoke his post if he didn’t apologize. But they won’t say his position is safe: “We’ll see what happens,” one GOP aide tells TPMDC.

Bonner also called Barton’s comments “stupid and extremely insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of people who live along the Gulf Coast — many in my district.”

Barton yesterday apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a committee hearing, calling the company’s $20 billion escrow fund a government “shakedown.” He later apologized for calling it a shakedown and retracted his apology.

Bonner called it “at best a half-hearted apology” designed to “save his position on one of the most influential committees in Congress.”

Another Republican from a district affected by the oil spill, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), yesterday called for Barton to resign his post.

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