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Listen to Senator Murray's speech on the Senate floor

Watch Senator Murray’s Speech:  Part 1Part 2

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) called on Republicans to end their obstruction and allow passage of the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act. This bill, co-sponsored by Senator Murray, would make sure taxpayers won’t have to pay to clean up spills and oil companies are held accountable for the economic costs resulting from their accidents. Shortly following Senator Murray’s speech, Senate Republicans once again objected to the passage of the legislation.

“Once again Senate Republicans have blocked efforts to make sure that taxpayers in Washington state and across the country aren’t left holding the bag for big oil’s mistakes,” said Senator Patty Murray. “To me, this is a simple issue of fairness—if an oil company causes a spill, they should have to pay to clean it up.”

More information on the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech on the Senate floor:

“Who should be responsible to clean this up?  Who should bear the burden for big oil’s mistakes?  Should it be the taxpayers? Families and small business owners who are already being asked to bear so much? Or should it be BP, the company that is responsible for this spill and that made $6.1 billion in profit in the first three months of 2010 alone?”

“I believe BP needs to be held accountable for the environmental and economic damage of this spill.  And I will fight to make sure taxpayers don’t end up losing a single dime to pay for the mess this big oil company created.  To me, this is an issue of fundamental fairness: if an oil company causes a spill, they should be the one to pay to pay to clean it up, not the taxpayers.”

“I was extremely disappointed when this bill was blocked by some Republicans last week.  But I am going to keep fighting for the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act to pass.  And I’m going to keep fighting for families and taxpayers in Washington state and across the country.”

“Because the bottom line is this—if oil companies are going to make billions in profits when times are good,  they shouldn’t be allowed to leave taxpayers hanging when times are tough.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Mr. President, I come to the floor today to strongly support the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act.

“And to ask some simple questions of every Senator who is considering objecting to this bill being passed: Who are you fighting for? Who are you trying to help? Are you here today to protect and shield the big oil companies?  Or are you going to fight for families and taxpayers?

“Mr. President, I know where I stand.  I came to the United States Senate to fight for families and small business owners in my home state of Washington. And those are the people I work for every single day.

“Moms and dads who are working hard, paying their taxes, doing their best—but who have watched over the last year as Wall St. executives and big banks derailed our economy then held out their hand for a bailout from the rest of us.

“Men and women who have stood by as their friends, family, and neighbors lost their jobs. Who have driven by boarded up storefronts where neighborhood businesses had stood for decades as anchors of the community.

“They have seen all this. And they have also seen Wall St. and big banks go right back to their ‘bonus as usual’ mentality.

“Acting like nothing ever happened, handing out millions of taxpayer dollars to their executives, and shamelessly sending lobbyists to Washington D.C. to try and water down reform.

“Families in Washington state and across the country have seen all this—they are angry about it—and they have good reason to be!

“But they should know there are those of us who are fighting for them here in the United States Senate.  And I think the debate we are having today demonstrates clearly who is standing up for them, and who’s not.

“Mr. President, here are the facts.

“On April 20, 2010, there was a massive blowout and explosion on a BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead, and 17 more are injured.

“The explosion caused a gushing spill that has poured hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf—and threatens to spill millions more.

“It has created an environmental and economic tragedy the magnitude of which we have only just begun to comprehend. It is threatening entire communities and industries. And the oil and chemicals dispersants being sprayed into the Gulf have the potential to kill underwater wildlife and create underwater “dead zones” for years and years to come.

“Those are the facts.

“Now Mr. President, the questions are:  Who should be responsible to clean this up?  Who should bear the burden for big oil’s mistakes?

“Should it be the taxpayers? Families and small business owners who are already being asked to bear so much? Or should it be BP—the company that is responsible for this spill and that made $6.1 billion in profit in the first three months of 2010 alone?

“Mr. President, I co-sponsored the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act because to me, the answer is clear.

“I believe BP needs to be held accountable for the environmental and economic damage of this spill.  And I will fight to make sure taxpayers don’t end up losing a single dime to pay for the mess this big oil company created.

“To me, this is an issue of fundamental fairness: if an oil company causes a spill, they should be the one to pay to pay to clean it up—not the taxpayers.

“This bill raises the cap on oil company liability from the current limit of 75 million dollars—a pittance considering this spill’s potential damage, and a rounding error for the big oil companies—and it raises it to 10 billion dollars.

“So taxpayers will never be left holding the bag for big oil’s mistakes.

“This is straightforward. It’s common sense. It’s fair. And it hits particularly close to home for families in the Northwest who saw first-hand the devastation caused by the Exxon Valdez disaster and the long and arduous battle over cleanup costs.

“So I have to say, Mr. President, I was extremely disappointed when this bill was blocked by some Republicans last week.  But I am going to keep fighting for the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act to pass.  And I’m going to keep fighting for families and taxpayers in Washington state and across the country.

“Because the bottom line is this—if oil companies are going to make billions in profits when times are good,  they shouldn’t be allowed to leave taxpayers hanging when times are tough.

“The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act writes this common-sense policy into law—and I urge every Senator to side with the taxpayers and support this important legislation.

“Thank you, I yield the floor.”