Nelson vows continued attempts to raise oil company liability cap

The bill is one of several Capitol Hill responses to BP’s ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Murkowski objected to Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE’s (D-N.J.) request for “unanimous consent.” Murkowski said she’s open to raising the limit, but that the Democrats’ plan would have made it impossible for smaller, independent companies to obtain the insurance and bonding needed to operate offshore.

Sens. David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry MORE (R-La.) and Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsOvernight Regulation: Trump pick would swing labor board to GOP | House panel advances bill to slow ozone regs | Funding bill puts restrictions on financial regulators Overnight Tech: Trump targets Amazon | DHS opts for tougher screening instead of laptop ban | Dem wants FBI to probe net neutrality comments | Google fine shocks tech DOJ hosts Pride party honoring transgender student from bathroom case MORE (R-Ala.) have also floated their own plan to raise the liability limit. It would create a cap equivalent to the last four quarters of the responsible party’s profits or double the current limit, whichever is greater, they said Thursday.

But even though some GOP members are also pushing for higher liability, Democrats are seeking to transform Republicans’ objection to Nelson's plan into a political liability for the GOP.

“Inexplicably, Republicans are protecting negligent oil companies like BP and blocking our efforts to prevent a BP bailout.  Through their obstruction, Republicans are leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay for BP’s negligence,” said Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems face identity crisis Heller under siege, even before healthcare Charles Koch thanks Harry Reid for helping his book sales MORE (D-Nev.) after Murkowski’s objection.

BP officials have vowed that their payments will exceed the $75 million damages cap anyway, and that they will pay all “legitimate” claims.