Barton Keeps Powerful Post

North Texan apologizes to colleagues

By Eric Kreindler
|  Wednesday, Jun 23, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM CDT
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Barton Keeps Powerful Post

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WASHINGTON - JUNE 17: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) questions BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward during a hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on 'The Role Of BP In The Deepwater Horizon Explosion And Oil Spill' June 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. BP agreed yesterday to place $20 billion into an escrow account managed by a third party to pay out claims resulting from the oil spill and also said it will not pay out additional dividends to shareholders for the remainder of the year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Rep. Joe Barton will retain his position as the top Republican lawmaker on the House Energy and Commerce Committee after expressing remorse to his fellow GOP lawmakers for his apology to BP chief executive Tony Hayward.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said Barton apologized to his colleagues during a closed-door meeting Wednesday.

As he left the meeting, Barton told reporters he made a statement to the Republican conference and "everybody took it in the spirit that I made it."

Barton would not say what he told Republicans at the meeting, but said they applauded his comments. "That's between me and the conference," he said.

"I'm the ranking Republican on the committee," Barton said. "I serve at the pleasure of the full conference."

During a congressional hearing last week where Hayward testified, Barton apologized to the BP executive for the White House getting the oil company to commit to a $20 billion Gulf Coast relief fund. Barton called it a "shakedown."

Barton later apologized for the apology to BP. Still, GOP leaders had threatened to launch a process to strip Barton of his seniority on the powerful panel.

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