GOP again blocks higher cap on oil company liability

GOP AGAIN BLOCKS HIGHER CAP ON OIL COMPANY LIABILITY…. The political circumstances would seem to benefit the “Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act.” Under existing law, there’s a $75 million liability cap for oil spills. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) want to increase it to $10 billion.

The impetus for approving the measure should be obvious — the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf keeps getting worse, and may soon no longer be limited to the Gulf. It’s hardly a good time for a politician to take a shameless stand to limit industry liability costs.

And yet, it keeps happening. Last week, it was Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Today, it was Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) stopped Democrats’ efforts on Tuesday of passing a measure to increase oil companies’ liability for accidents resulting from offshore drilling.

Inhofe objected to a unanimous consent request by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who took a second stab Tuesday at passing the bill in an expedited way.

Menendez and his partners on this intend to keep trying — and the DSCC intends to use Republican opposition as a campaign issue.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.