Washington - Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray joined Senator Bob Menendez on a conference call this morning to discuss Democrats' efforts to ensure that American taxpayers are not on the hook for the negligence of BP and to call on Republicans to stop shielding oil polluters from accountability for current and future oil spills. In recent weeks, Democrats have tried repeatedly to raise the liability cap on oil polluters like BP to protect American taxpayers but Republicans have blocked those efforts every time. Democrats will continue to call on Republicans to hold big oil accountable.Today, Senate Democrats released a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward calling on the company to put aside $20 billion in a special account to ensure repayment to victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Senate Democrats' legislation would make sure taxpayers won't have to pay to clean up spills - and that oil companies like BP are held accountable for the economic costs resulting from their accidents," said Senator 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. But Senate Republicans have blocked our bill three times. The debate over this issue demonstrates clearly who is standing up for working families and taxpayers, and who is not."

"Republicans know that defending oil companies and their profits is about as popular as BP itself," said Senator Menendez. "They know that they can't win an argument against ensuring full accountability for oil companies that spill. They have attempted to give the illusion of being tough on oil companies, but their proposals have loopholes big enough to navigate an oil tanker through. In contrast, the actions we are pursuing - like our unlimited liability legislation - would unequivocally protect taxpayers, coastal families and coastal businesses, not oil companies."

Last month, the DPC released a research document detailing the profits and investments of some of the largest oil companies. The report can be found HERE.