Pelosi Rejects McConnell’s Proposed Coronavirus-Liability Protections for Businesses

POLITICS & POLICY
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference following a Senate vote on the coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected a Republican proposal to provide businesses with protection from lawsuits should they choose to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Especially now, we have every reason to protect our workers and our patients in all of this. So we would not be inclined to be supporting any immunity from liability,” Pelosi told reporters at a press briefing.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell indicated this week that he would “insist” the next coronavirus-relief package include liability protections for companies and health-care workers as they reopen amid the pandemic. Such protections are a “red line,” McConnell has said, and must be included before he would consider Democratic demands that additional relief be provided to state and local governments.

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“The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one. So we need to prevent that now when we have the opportunity to do it,” the Kentucky Republican told Politico on Monday.

Democrats do not have “any interest in having any less protection for our workers,” Pelosi responded.

Senators will return to Congress on Monday to begin hashing out the next relief package.

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