Obama to Demand Billions in Compensation from BP, According to Administration Officials

n 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.

In his showdown Wednesday with BP's top executives, President Obama will demand that they turn over a "substantial" amount of money to an independent mediator who will handle claims from people and businesses harmed by the environmental disaster, administration officials said Sunday.

The company’s $10.5 billion annual dividend has become a point of contention as President Obama has said BP should not be paying stockholders when fishermen, oil workers and small business owners are saying they cannot get the company to pay their loss claims from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.