Yesterday another attempt to raise the liability limit on big oil for spills was blocked by the GOP. Now the GOP is trying their own bill:
After a third Republican block of a Democratic bill to raise the liability on oil spills, the GOP put forward its own bill on Tuesday afternoon. This one would eliminate the cap only for the current spill, but not change the cap set under the Oil Pollution Act for future spills, which stands at $75 million.
The new bill comes from Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and David Vitter (R-La.), and also contains provisions that would expedite the claims process for Gulf residents. Vitter said on the floor that their measure would hold BP to its pledge to cover all costs related to the current spill. “That’s a contract offer,” he said on the floor Tuesday. “We’re saying we’ll take it.”
So Murkowski and Vitter want to pass a bill going after only BP for the current spill? And these people call them self Senator?
To show the problem with what Murkowski and Vitter is trying, I’ll go back to that pesky little document called “The Constitution”, particularly Article 1; Section 9:
And that is exactly what this measure is. Now either these two Senators are down right stupid, or they are being very sneaky. I tend to go with the second one. They know that if this passes, BP could take it to court and it would instantly get struck down as a constitutional violation.
So that means we have a game of slight of hand going on here. Vitter and Murkowski are trying to make it look like they are tough on BP. They are also adding in provisions to speed up claims to Gulf residents. They know this bill has 0 chance of passing. Basically Senators would vote against it because it doesn’t pass the constitutional test, but then they can say “these people voted against helping the people of the Gulf”.
We have one of the biggest disasters in U.S. history going on right now. This isn’t a time for stupid little political games, like Vitter and Murkowski are trying. We need actual leadership that will work to end this disaster and prevent further ones. If oil companies knew that they could be held liable for billions of dollars, instead of only $75 million, then they might be willing to make damn sure they are following the safety book to the T.
Now we just have to see how the media tries and spin this.