Partisan Inflexibility Could Sink Spill Response Bills
Partisan squabbling may sink legislation responding to the massive oil spill in the Gulf, considered must-pass by many in Congress. In both the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find a workable compromise.
The House is slated today to take up its broad oil spill response package, but there is significant opposition to a provision eliminating the cap on economic liability for oil companies in the case of a spill. The Senate, for its part, will not take up energy and oil spill legislation until next week, but that bill’s chances of passing also seem slim. Opposition is gathering here, too, around the limitless liability language.
One ray of hope for the bill: CQ reports that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is working on a compromise on his limitless liability language that could ensure the votes of Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Begich (Alaska), two key Democrats who oppose to the provision. The real question is, can this compromise effort secure the votes of at least a few Republicans?