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BP execs agree to put $20 billion into an escrow account

BP and the White House have reached a preliminary agreement in which BP would put $20 billion into an escrow account to pay for damages from the Gulf oil spill. 

The preliminary deal was reached during meetings Wednesday at the White House, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting. 

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Florida Sen. George LeMieux (R), who has been critical of the Obama administration's reaction to the oil spill, called the establishment of the fund "a great achievement" and said he will "give credit where credit it due."  

The account could exceed $20 billion, according to sources, and BP is likely to build the account through a series of deposits. 

The source said Kenneth Feinberg, the administration's pay czar for the financial bailout funds, will oversee the fund. Feinberg previously worked on compensation claims for victims of the 9/11 attacks.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJacobin Editor-at-Large: Valerie Jarrett's support for Citigroup executive's mayoral campaign 'microcosm' of Democrats' relationship with Wall Street Obama to stump for Biden in Philadelphia On India, the US must think bigger MORE and Senate Democrats have been pressing BP executives to put money into an account to ensure the costs of the Gulf oil spill are taken care of quickly.

The selection of Feinberg drew quick applause from Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump to lift Sudan terror sponsor designation Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts The 2016 and 2020 Senate votes are about the same thing: constitutionalist judges MORE (D-N.Y.), who predicted that victims of the Gulf spill will be well represented.

“The victims can be confident that real help is on the way with someone as fair, diligent and sympathetic as Ken Feinberg running this fund," Schumer said in a prepared statement. "He did an amazingly good job in New York for the families of those lost on September 11 and received plaudits from all sides. I believe when Feinberg completes his mission here, the people in the Gulf will feel the same way.”

This story is developing. 

Updated at 1:10 p.m.