This reported in the Houston Chronicle:
BP had paid out $95 million as of Friday and written about 30,000 checks to settle about half of the 63,000 claims it has received, a company spokesman said.
The chief of the Independent Claims Facility — the newly created office charged with distributing $20 billion in compensation from BP — said a plan to handle the remaining damage claims should be in place within about six weeks.
Republicans used their weekly address to claim the president has been too slow to react to the threats posed by the Gulf oil spill and some steps taken by his administration will do more harm than good.
"I'm glad President Obama is finally putting this catastrophe at the top of his agenda, but his response has been too slow," Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said. Wicker criticized Obama for pushing for an energy bill and increases in oil cleanup fees and for calling for a moratorium on deep-water drilling, which he said would cost jobs and raise the price of energy.
So, the "small people" will have another six weeks to sweat out trying to pay bills as the new government office gears up and organizes to pay the remaining outstanding claims. Government never moves quickly. And the legality of this whole procedure is being questioned. Perhaps instead of trying to seize another major company, this administration should have focused on taking command of actions on the ground. Let the oil experts cap the leak. Let the administration handle the clean up and then worry about the criminal and civil law suit, the dog and pony congressional hearings. The administration should have set up a spot within the command center to place a BP check writer and supervise the work there, not layer on another Washington bureaucrat.
Some common sense and leadership would be refreshing.