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Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and oil began gushing in the Gulf, Senate Democrats have tried repeatedly, under unanimous consent agreements, to move legislation to lift the $75 million cap on oil companies' liability for economic damages caused by spills and gushers. Each time they tried, they were blocked by Republicans who argue that raising the liability cap would discourage competition in the offshore oil-drilling industry.

So the Democrats are moving forward with plan two -- advancing the bill under regular order, through the committee process to the Senate floor. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the bill today, and they added a major strengthening amendment that will make the Republicans who objected to the original bill like it even less.

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