Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 13, 2010

BOEHNER ENDORSES LIFTING LIABILITY CAP.... When Democratic lawmakers and the White House pushed for lifting the liability cap on BP, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) balked, and said those decisions should be put off, perhaps indefinitely.

When Boehner seemed to indicate this week that he preferred to see American taxpayers bear some of the financial brunt of the oil spill disaster, the Ohio Republican quickly backpedaled and said "not a dime" of public funds should have to pay for the response.

Dems had a simple reply: if Boehner means that, he'll have to reverse course and endorse the Democratic plan to lift the liability cap. Today on ABC's "This Week," Boehner did just that.

Boehner explained he wanted to change to current law so that BP would be responsible not just for the cost of cleanup but also for more economic damages than current law allows. "I think lifting the liability cap on BP and for this spill is appropriate."

Host Jake Tapper asked, "so lift it entirely for BP?"

"Absolutely," Boehner replied. "They should be held responsible for every dime of this cost."

Now, Boehner might try to weasel out of this -- maybe he defines "lift" differently than the rest of us -- but this seemed pretty categorical. And given the controversy this week on Boehner's position, the Minority Leader seemed to appreciate the political dynamic and deliberately made some news this morning.

Good. With Boehner's endorsement, lifting the liability cap on BP should be approved overwhelmingly. Dems lose a campaign issue -- Democrats hoped to use this issue to bludgeon Boehner and the GOP for the rest of the year -- but I think the party will agree that the substance is infinitely more important.

Boehner no doubt realized that the politics of this was a lose-lose scenario for the GOP. Left with no choice, he reversed course and ended up in the right place.

Steve Benen 10:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Boehner no doubt realized that the politics of this was a lose-lose scenario for the GOP. Left with no choice, he reversed course and ended up in the right place.

So Boehner (and McConnell) won't be in London next week hunkerin' down with the BP principals talkin' shit about the Obama admin?

Posted by: neill on June 13, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

"They should be held responsible for every dime of this cost."

Seems there's plenty of room to weasel to mean only the cost of cleanup. "I did use the word 'cost', so neener, neener, neener.

Posted by: Boehner Lies on June 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

If corporations are to be treated as individuals and citizens how will increasing the liability cap affect the current situration since the constitutuin protect individuals and citizens from ex post facto laws. Art. I, Sec. 10 paragraph 1 Now you see what the Supreme Court did.

Posted by: iyouwemeus on June 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Political calculation first - Do the right thing only if it benefits the individual politician. Serious people with integrity are not drawn to politics and as a result, governing is increasingly out of reach. Boehner is a stunning example of the egocentric cynical politician in neon orange.

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on June 13, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

You act as if you expect what Boehner says on a Sunday talk show to actually effect what he does on the floor. Why?

Let's see what he does this week.

Posted by: biggerbox on June 13, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

The Dems still could get some mileage out of it. They can remind voters that Boehner's first response was to make the government share the cost. After many days of weak excuses, he finally came around to something in line with the American public. He had to be dragged to do the right thing. There's leadership for ya!.

Posted by: Paranoid Floyd on June 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner no doubt realized that the politics of this was a lose-lose scenario for the GOP. Left with no choice, he reversed course and ended up in the right place.

Yes, unfortunately for Mr.Bronze, the Democrats weren't forced into a position (unlike Wall St.) to bail out the GOP's buddies after the GOP turned a blind regulation eye toward them. I guess tan man decided his bronzer accents better with a pitch fork and tea bag after all.

Posted by: Oh my on June 13, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Boehner means "lift" in the sense of hiring a rentboy to "lift one's luggage."

Posted by: Zeno on June 13, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner Lies wrote: "Seems there's plenty of room to weasel to mean only the cost of cleanup. "I did use the word 'cost', so neener, neener, neener."

Exactly, the word cost could be weaseled to avoid paying damages to fishermen, oyster growers, resort owners, and others whose livelihoods have been seriously harmed by the disaster.

Boehner might support is, but he might have a monkeywrench team in the House that will prevent the bill from moving forward, perhaps attaching porn amendments like before. And there is always the Senate to get through....

Posted by: meander on June 13, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

["how will increasing the liability cap affect the current situration since the constitutuin protect individuals and citizens from ex post facto laws."]

Uh, that's pretty obvious. It will only be ex post facto if applied to damages and costs that are *already paid*. The Congress couldn't go back after the payments are already out and say that BP's liability was actually higher. But that's not what they're doing, so it's OK.

Legally, there is a huge difference between actions and liability for those actions.

Posted by: Shade Tail on June 13, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

This is even better news for Democrats than just having a 'solid Republican objection.' Many of the crazier Republicans will buck Boehner on this, so they can be positioned as ever farther out of the mainstream, so we'll win the substance and get some political advantage out of it.

And, as i keep saying, we'll get a lot more political advanatge if we use the crazier Republicans as wedges to split their own party.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on June 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

iyouwemeus, the constitutional bar on ex post facto laws primarily impacts criminal law. In order for a retoractive change in liability limits to be overturned, the courts would have to decide the change was primarily punitive in nature.

It may also be moot.

-Given the reports we have already seen of sub-standard equipment and ignored warnings at the Deepwater Horizons well.
-Given that pressure readings and other tests that indicated possible problems with the operations underway at the time of the explosion were at best received with confusion and at worst deliberately ignored.

It's quite possible that BPs actions rise to a level of negligence that would negate the liability limits without any further legislation.

Btw, I need to have my mind washed. In the course of googling to double-check a couple earlier points in this post, I came across a website at www.thedailynigger.com. This is an anti-Obama website that claims they (the authors and presumably like-minded folks) are being treated like niggers by the liberal MSM. So stupid, it hurts.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"This is an anti-Obama website that claims they (the authors and presumably like-minded folks) are being treated like n*****s by the liberal MSM."
Posted by: tanstaafl on June 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Not the first time.
You might recall there was a photo being passed around the web a while back showing a hi-rank (in every sense of the word) member of the Tea Party "Movement" from Texas, one Dale Robertson (apparently also operator of the website teaparty.org), happily displaying at a rally a sign that said:

"Congress = Slave Owner
Taxpayer = Niggar" [sic(k)]

Expect more to come.

One place to see the pic:
http://www.pensitoreview.com/2010/01/04/photo-shows-top-tea-bagger-holding-sign-with-n-word-which-he-misspelled/

Posted by: smartalek on June 13, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

@boehner lies
Seems there's plenty of room to weasel to mean only the cost of cleanup. "I did use the word 'cost', so neener, neener, neener.

Except that the liability cap he says he wants to lift doesn't apply to the cost of cleanup; it's for damages to businesses, property, health, etc. BP is already required to pay 100 percent of the cost of cleanup no matter what happens with the liability cap.

Posted by: Swift Loris on June 13, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

It seems odd to me that the liability cap could be changed after the fact. In the auto industry, don't the bean counters crunch the numbers and weigh the trade-offs between spending more $ to make a vehicle safer versus settling potential future lawsuits? Couldn't BP make the case that they did a benefit-risk analysis and determined that the higher cost of increased safety measures wasn't justified due to the existing liability cap?

Personally, I think BP should pay until they bleed, even if it puts them out of business. But I'm wondering about the legal issues with retroactively increasing the cap.

Posted by: josef on June 13, 2010 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Lift.
Raise.
Increase the upper limit.

By "lift" he doesn't mean "eliminate" like fog lifting, or lifting an embargo.

He means lift the cap from 28 billion to $28,000,001.

Maybe he wouldn't be THAT obviously disingenuous, but he can be telling the truth and STILL protect his sugar daddies in the oil biz.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 14, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: onlinemarketing on December 28, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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