Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 5503, the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and am most grateful to him for bringing this legislation to the floor.
“I saw the hope in the eyes of the victims of the oil spill come to my office. These families came. Eleven of their families were suffering from the loss of a loved one on a rig. They came to me and said that they were on their way to see the Chairman, to see Chairman Conyers. They were filled with hope that he would advance the SPILL Act. I heard their stories. They made their appeal for legislation about safety and about the SPILL Act. We held hands. We prayed. They told stories of their loved ones, and they kept coming back to the point that they did not want the families to be forgotten. And they did not want other families who could be the victims of future accidents or incidents of this kind to be forgotten.
“Very hopefully and prayerfully, they left the Speaker's office and went to see Mr. Conyers. With great emotion in terms of the stories they had to tell, but with great wisdom, about how their families had been affected and what a difference the SPILL Act would make. The Chairman has very well described it in terms of the Death on the High Seas Act which would be a change by this legislation. It was passed in the middle of the 19th century, amended dating from the 1920s as we know, and this legislation will modernize it in terms of distance from the shore and who would be compensated for a loss and not just pecuniary loss, but also pain and suffering.
“So I want to thank the Chairman because of what I saw in their eyes, the hope they had, and the message this legislation will send. More important than all of that, the difference that it will make in the lives of these people who gave, the backbone of America, worked so hard to grow our economy, to keep the community together there. And I thank Mr. Melancon for the important role he has played in that, representing those people so well and making sure this legislation addresses their concerns.
“With that, I yield back the balance of my time and once again thank the distinguished Chairman for anticipating the needs of these families and meeting them by bringing the SPILL Act to the floor.”