House Minority Leader John Boehner faced a torrent of criticism on Thursday after he said both the government and BP "should take full responsibility" for the oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico. Though Liberal bloggers accused Boehner of saying taxpayers should pay for BP's mistakes, Boehner's spokesman said critics were twisting the politician's words: Boehner has always maintained that BP, not taxpayers, must pay for the cleanup, said the spokesperson, and it's the federal government's responsibility to make sure that happens. Was Boehner hinting at an unpalatable, but inevitable, reality? Will taxpayers end up footing the bill? (Watch a Fox Business report about possible gas cost rises)
Boehner and Big Oil want to stick you with bill: Sure, he's trying to dial back the comments now that there's an uproar — but what he said at the time was perfectly clear, says Digby at Hullabaloo. The fat-cat CEOs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want to "bail out Big Oil" and stick the taxpayer with bill, and their man Boehner — utterly "out of touch and servile to Big Business" — just "slipped up and accidentally" revealed the game plan.
"Drunk on ManTan and nicotine"
This has nothing to do with Boehner — but the taxpayers will still pay: No matter what politicians in either party say, says Brian Doherty in Reason, taxpayers "will be paying" for the BP oil spill. Right now BP can't legally be charged for the full cost of this disaster, because of a $75-million cap on corporate liability for damages. If we want to avoid picking up the tab in the next man-made environmental disaster, a good "free market approach" is to change the law to make sure the company responsible foots the entire bill.
"Who caused the oil spill? After all, it was you and me"
Boehner's actions will reveal more than his words: Now he's suggesting that taxpayers won't pay for the cleanup, says Bernie Becker in The New York Times, or for the economic damages suffered the Gulf Coast. But powerful Republicans are fighting Democrats who want to eliminate the $75 million liability cap (some GOP lawmakers say that would drive insurance costs so high that only huge corporations — like BP — could afford it). If Boehner wants to deliver on his promise, he'll have to get his fellow Republicans to change their minds.
"Democrats push to eliminate liability cap"