Obama to Demand Billions From BP in 1st Oval Office Speech

Prez wants all oil industry workers compensated
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2010 4:25 AM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2010 7:41 AM CDT
Stripes of oil are seen near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the Alabama coast as viewed from a Coast Guard HC-144A plane.   (AP Photo/Mobile Press-Register, John David Mercer)

(Newser) – In his first-ever Oval Office speech tomorrow night, President Obama will demand that BP hand over billions of dollars to an independent mediator who will handle the claims of people and businesses affected by the Gulf oil spill. The White House hasn't named a sum, but House Dems asked BP for $20 billion for the escrow fund yesterday. The speech will come amid a week of activities that the president hopes will convince the public he's in control of the oil spill crisis, the New York Times reports.

Those the administration wants BP to compensate include all oil industry workers affected by the current moratorium on drilling. The oil giant fears the plan would create unlimited liability for it, the Washington Post reports. Another current sore point as both sides gear up for Obama's meeting with BP leaders Wednesday is the $10.5 billion dividend BP had planned to pay out to shareholders, likely unfeasible in the current political environment. Topping off the week's confrontations with the government, BP head Tony Hayward will go before a congressional committee Thursday.

(Read more Tony Hayward stories.)

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