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 MenendezTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race 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 VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (R-La.) and Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general C-SPAN to air Trump travel ban arguments live Trump faults DNC in Russian email hacks 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 ReidWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare 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.