Boehner endorses lifting liability cap

BOEHNER ENDORSES LIFTING LIABILITY CAP…. When Democratic lawmakers and the White House pushed for lifting the liability cap on BP, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) balked, and said those decisions should be put off, perhaps indefinitely.

When Boehner seemed to indicate this week that he preferred to see American taxpayers bear some of the financial brunt of the oil spill disaster, the Ohio Republican quickly backpedaled and said “not a dime” of public funds should have to pay for the response.

Dems had a simple reply: if Boehner means that, he’ll have to reverse course and endorse the Democratic plan to lift the liability cap. Today on ABC’s “This Week,” Boehner did just that.

Boehner explained he wanted to change to current law so that BP would be responsible not just for the cost of cleanup but also for more economic damages than current law allows. “I think lifting the liability cap on BP and for this spill is appropriate.”

Host Jake Tapper asked, “so lift it entirely for BP?”

“Absolutely,” Boehner replied. “They should be held responsible for every dime of this cost.”

Now, Boehner might try to weasel out of this — maybe he defines “lift” differently than the rest of us — but this seemed pretty categorical. And given the controversy this week on Boehner’s position, the Minority Leader seemed to appreciate the political dynamic and deliberately made some news this morning.

Good. With Boehner’s endorsement, lifting the liability cap on BP should be approved overwhelmingly. Dems lose a campaign issue — Democrats hoped to use this issue to bludgeon Boehner and the GOP for the rest of the year — but I think the party will agree that the substance is infinitely more important.

Boehner no doubt realized that the politics of this was a lose-lose scenario for the GOP. Left with no choice, he reversed course and ended up in the right place.