Pelosi plots BP spill response plan with senior Democrats

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will huddle with committee chairmen on Thursday to map out upcoming legislation in response to the BP oil spill, a leadership aide said.

Democratic leaders are planning a floor debate before the August congressional recess, the aide said.

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is also slated to meet with committee leaders Wednesday and the oil spill response is on the agenda, another House aide said.

The meetings come as several committees are moving ahead with bills to expand drilling rig safeguards and improve the response to oil spills.

The House Natural Resources Committee is marking up legislation Wednesday that would overhaul Interior Department offshore drilling oversight. 

It would also require enhanced inspections and new protections, such as third-party certification of blowout preventers on rigs and expanded testing of the deepwater equipment, among many other measures.

Several other committees are also weighing in — the House Energy and Commerce Committee is crafting its own drilling safety bill.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this month approved a far-reaching package that would lift limits on industry liability for spill damages and require improvements to federal agency and industry spill response planning. 

The suite of provisions would also require that vessels drilling off the coast are U.S.-flagged to ensure they are bound by domestic safety rules, according to the committee.