Following a late afternoon meeting at the White House on June 15 between President Obama and CEOs of major oil companies, the administration revealed that BP agreed to set up a fund to compensate the victims of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The escrow account will amount to $20 billion, although both the president and his staff were cafeful to stress that the amount is not a cap. They also added that the fund will be administred by an independent overseer.
While Obama supporters and many Gulf Coast residents may be satisfied with the decision, the president’s Republican opponents and conservative commentators have been critical.
Appearing on CNN‘s John King USA show, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann expressed her concern ahout the extent of the the government’s expansion into the private sector in the last 18 months, and warned that the administration should not treat BP as "a permanent ATM card."
In a similar vain, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh claimed on his radio show that "this is going to be used as a little miniature slush fund," and urged affected Gulf residents to "keep a sharp eye on who gets the money."
On top of that, the Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele criticized Obama for waiting 58 days to meet with BP executives, according to CNN.