House Debates Offshore Drilling Safety Standards

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has begun debate on a bill to boost safety standards for offshore drilling and remove a $75 million cap on economic liability for oil spills.

Democratic leaders hailed the bill as a comprehensive response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said it would increase drilling safety and crack down on oil companies such as BP.

Republicans and some-oil state Democrats opposed the measure, calling it a federal power grab that would raise energy prices and kill thousands of American jobs.

Even if the bill passes the House on Friday, partisan disagreements in the Senate will likely delay final passage of legislation responding to the Gulf oil spill until at least September, when Congress returns from its summer recess.

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