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Clever Move

By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 16 June 2010

Link from TPM. House Minority Leader Boehner has been forced to publically support "making BP pay" and seemed to indicate that sentiment on the Sunday talk shows, but Democrats are now formally asking for his signature and his leadership in rallying his caucus to support the bill to lift the $75 million cap on oil companies. Now he's in a pretty tough spot, don't you think?

Democrats are asking House Minority Leader John Boehner to put his money (or at least his signature) where his mouth is. Boehner took to the Sunday shows this weekend to say he supports forcing BP to pay for the full cost of damages in the Gulf, but has been largely mum on how, legislatively, he proposes to do that. Now, Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Jay Inslee (D-WA), authors of a bill that would retroactively and permanently remove the $75 million liability cap on BP and other oil companies, are inviting him to join their efforts

In a letter delivered to Boehner today, which was passed my way, Holt and Inslee question Boehner's commitment to forcing BP to pay up, and suggest a way for him to clear the air. "[W]e ask that you personally state whether you will lead your caucus in supporting legislation to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require BP to pay, in a timely manner, for all containment and removal efforts and reasonable damages resulting from this disaster."

As the letter notes, Republicans quietly favor a different approach--a bill sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) that seeks to renegotiate BP's lease on the drilling site, without lifting the overall cap on damages. However Democrats and experts say that approach--potentially unconstitutional--creates a loophole that would allow BP to walk away from the damages.

"We would like to know whether you will lead your caucus in supporting the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act in its current your leadership would be helpful in moving this legislation," the letter goes on. "[W]e would like to know why you have withheld your public support for these initiatives so far."


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