Congress considers raising oil tax to pay for clean-ups

(NBC) - So far, BP says the cost of its Gulf oil spill is about $350 million and counting.

Federal officials insist the company will pay.

"We'll do everything we need to do to get BP to stop this slick, to clean this ocean and to pay these claims," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

The Federal Government has ultimate authority to step in to prevent an even bigger disaster.

"I want some plan B and some plan C," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said.

Stepping in could mean doing so with the taxpayer's checkbook. Congress is considering whether to quadruple an oil tax to 32 cents a barrel to help pay for cleanups like this. It's not a popular idea with some.

"Oh God no! Please! How much more can we take?" Adrienne Butler, also against the oil tax, responded.

The White House is also trying to get Congress to lift a $75 million cap on damages. As distasteful as it may be, some taxpayers say they'd rather pay now rather than later.

A vote on the oil tax could come as early as today.

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