From a staffer on the Hill …
Senators Menendez, Nelson & Lautenberg introduced legislation on May 13 to lift the cap on economic damages from $75M to $10B. At the urging of Senator Reid, they’ve since modified that to remove the cap altogether.
They’ve asked unanimous consent to pass that bill at least four times, and each time the Republicans have blocked it (May 13, 18 & 25, then again on June 8). Murkowski and Inhofe have objected. Senators Vitter and Sessions have introduced legislation that would raise the cap on damages to four times the last quarter’s profits or $150M, whichever is greater. So, in this case, $20B (assuming BP’s 1Q10 profits were $5B). Dems aren’t biting. Vitter also tried to lock in a solution specific to this spill, again without Democratic support. I think you’ll soon see a strong and unified Democratic message on this issue, and on the need to pay claims quickly.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.