Thursday, May 06, 2010

Congressional Dems to Jindal: Oh, Now You Want Federal Help?


The financial costs of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill are just beginning to become a political issue, with Democrats in Washington reluctant to divvy out any more taxpayer funds in an election year, especially for states whose governors have been among the most vocal over the past year in blasting federal spending.

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has been a vocal critic of federal spending under President Obama, but as the state closest to the undersea leak, he already has requested various forms of federal disaster assistance. He's also anticipating the possibility that British Petroleum either won't, or won't have to under the law, foot the the full cost of all the damages associated with the spill.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) took a swipe at Jindal when I asked during a brief interview this week if Congress was considering any funding to add to what BP will do. "Well you know, here we go. You know, the governor of Louisiana says the federal government should stay out of the state's business," Menendez told me Tuesday night. Jindal's office said they would respond but haven't yet gotten back to me. We'll update if they do.

Several lawmakers have told me in recent days that even though the spill is isolated to one location and BP is handling the cleanup costs, they fear a "ripple effect" that could cost someone millions. That's why members are now wrangling over whether to increase the liability cap of $75 million. Some members of Congress told me that talks are under way for a potential supplemental measure to help the Gulf.......................

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