Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) “is set to introduce on Tuesday afternoon a bill that would fully eliminate any cap on the amount of economic damages that oil companies would have to pay for spills they’ve caused,” the Huffington Post reports.
The New Jersey Democrat is revising an earlier version of legislation he introduced which would have raised the cap from $75 million dollars in liability to $10 billion. Now, the cap will be effectively unlimited, an aide said.
The revised legislation, which ups the ante a bit in the oil-spill debate, will get its first floor hearing on Tuesday afternoon as Senate Democratic leadership is expected to call for unanimous consent. In all likelihood, a Republican senator will object (they have objected twice already to Menendez’s $10 billion cap) forcing Democrats into another course of action. It should be noted, as well, that the Obama White House has refused so far to endorse an actual dollar figure for where they’d like a liability cap to be, though they have expressed support for raising it.
Update: Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) objected today to unanimous passage of this bill. He said he supports raising the cap, but wants time for experts to be able to determine the right amount.
(credit image – daylife/associated press)