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 (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Poll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger 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 Bruce VitterPlanned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? MORE (R-La.) and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDeVos grilled on civil rights for students House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — How long can a Trump-DOJ accord survive? 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 Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules 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.