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.