Senate won’t pass next coronavirus bill without business liability protection: McConnell
Ø On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the next coronavirus bill must include liability protections for the employers, else it will not pass the senate.
Ø "My red line going forward on this bill is we need to provide protection, litigation protection, for those who have been on the front lines. ... We can't pass another bill unless we have liability protection,” McConnell told Fox News.
Ø Defending his demand, McConnell argues that businesses across the country fear that they could be sued. Giving an example, he says that after a business reopens and a customer, who is infected, accuses the business of being at fault.
Ø Speaking to reporters, house speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats do not have "any interest in having any less protection for our workers” but “we don't need any prescription from anybody about mythology or just excuses not to do the job.”
Ø Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told PBS that he hasn’t seen McConnell's proposal yet, but if it is against the workers, then it’s “not going to happen."
Ø When asked about the Democratic opposition, McConnell cleared that the bill won’t pass the Senate without the liability protection.
Ø Lawmakers are currently planning for the next coronavirus relief package.
Ø Democrats have their own expectations from the next bill. They want more financial support for the state and local governments that are facing budget issues. The $2.2 trillion relief bill included $150 billion for state and local governments, but governors are now asking for $500 billion more.
Wait, I've Heard This Song Before
I find the two-faced nature of politics to be its most obvious and negative drawback. Humanity is not a coin born with two faces, our personalities and thoughts are complex and flow together, and our politics should reflect this nature. To have one side of the aisle fighting for company protections and the other fighting for worker protections is a broken system. The Democrats and Republicans should be focused on how to best aid workers AND companies. It should not be seen as one versus the other.
But that’s what we have, time and time again, not just in American politics, but reflected in politics across the world.
The problem with Republicans and Democrats, but particularly McConnel, is their absoluteness. Their seems to be no room for compromise in McConnell’s rhetoric, which is great if your dealing with terrorists, but when dealing with the problems of your own citizens within your own country, suffering from a virus that has effected them in ways entirely beyond their control, it seems a little foolish. Indeed, every time I see McConnel a little Lennon and McCartney ditty pops into my head:
“Day after day,
alone on a hill,
the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still.
But nobody wants to know him, cause they see that he’s just a fool.”
Yes, the Fool on the hill. Although, with this administration, and, Billy-be-damned, with this whole country, I’d need to call it The Fools on the Hill.
It becomes hard to fight for one side of an argument for the sake of defending your position blindly. So I won’t. Companies AND workers need protections, there should not be any agonistic nature to the conversation. Workers need to be protected from losing their jobs, their livelihood, and their health from this exceptional situation in American history. Likewise, Companies cannot be held totally liable in the face of a disease which has no precedent in the modern capitalist philosophy and way of life.
So, parties, don’t end up like the fool on the hill, screaming at the sky while the world passes by.
Now is not the time for companies and corporations to be going under. As much as the Left hates to hear it, we have to protect our big businesses.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell understands the risk that a lot of these companies are taking by merely staying open—some not even by choice. Take the meat processing industry, for example. The federal government has deemed them so essential to American life that President Trump signed an Executive Order on Tuesday to keep the meat processing plants open, per the Defense Production Act.
Unfortunately, where you are going to have a group of people working together every day—with food, no less—there is a chance for the spread of COVID-19. Senator McConnell wants to protect the employers from being liable for sickness passed by the employees.
Of course, that is not to say that the companies should not need to be under intense scrutiny at the moment. A virus is ravaging the country, and we need to be careful. The federal government should dispatch OSHA inspectors to workplaces around the country and penalize those companies that are not protecting their employees.
Democrats get it wrong when they accuse Republicans of dismissing the needs of workers and caring only for the corporations. If a corporation goes under because of a liability lawsuit, who does that hurt? Yes, of course, it hurts the CEO and CFO. But more than the executives, it hurts the ordinary workers that that corporation employs.
The Democrats are not the party of the common man; they are the party of big government. The Democrats hate the corporations because of their ability to create jobs and employ thousands of workers. Thousands of workers that could be living off of a Universal Basic Income, and thousands of workers that could be dependent on the federal government for their very livelihood.
We need to protect the employer so that the employee can also be safe.
Companies Need Basic Protections to Reopen
As we approach the warmer weather of summer and states being rolling out plans to end their lockdown, businesses have been discussing the potential risks with reopening and what kinds of organizational change might be needed to ensure employee and customers safety. The dizzying array of considerations and issues are fraught with complexities spanning federal and state laws, OSHA compliance, union negotiations, potential personal injury lawsuits and workers compensation claims, employee testing, risks to customers and clients, and more.
It is for this reason that Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McDonnell, are demanding concessions from Democrats on temporary legislation that would shield companies from legal liability (arising from Covid-19) as part of any negotiations for federal aid for states. This envisioned legislation would protect companies from most lawsuits seeking damages brought by employee or customer plaintiffs alleging infection with covid-19 due to company negligence. Although many legal experts say proving such negligence would be difficult if not impossible, companies don't want to find out. Even if these cases are successfully defended against, the cost of multiple or hundreds of lawsuits happening in parallel would be staggering.
The powerful US Chamber of Commerce is also pressuring Democrats for a temporary hold on personal injury lawsuits (until after federal and state officials give notification that a lockdown is over) and to handle any legal liability relating to Covid-19 as a Worker Compensation claim, where there are more rigorous standards and laws in place and monies are paid by insurance companies and not by companies themselves in a personal injury lawsuit scenario.
The Democrats have two good incentives to make this difficult for Republicans, one is the longer the economy suffers and implodes the worse it is for Trump's reelection, and two, the more the Democrats can make the Senate Republicans look uncaring and removed from the plight of ordinary people the more likely it is they will lose the Senate.
This infighting could delay the next aid package and hurt many people and businesses. This issue will force both sides into painful and lenthgy negotiations while businesses and employees wait.
I agree with most of what your saying Chris. Surely the infighting is a fruitless endeavor, old men bickering over ink while people suffer in real time.
And, of course, the re-opening of businesses, and the general path forward from Coronavirus, is going to be fraught with difficulties legal, social, and economical.
Companies cannot be saddled down with lawsuits due to the virus. I don't see a situation where an employee winning a coronavirus lawsuit which helps them financially but ruins a company and puts many people out of work is a good thing.
But, if this is going to be the case, there HAS to be protections for workers, and there HAS to be more money to aid workers. To aggressively protect companies but not do the same for workers, obviously the vast majority of citizens in the United States, is nonsensical. Bring me your sick, your poor, and your dying, so that I might saddle the burden of my business failures on their beleaguered backs.
And I really do not see the logic of protecting a company over a human being. If a company fails, they can declare bankruptcy, have all their debt forgiven, and then the owner can go and work at McDonalds. That is the American dream.
If a person is sick, and unable to receive any aid for that, then even If they declare bankruptcy their options are limited, and suffering is sure to follow. Help the workers, the worker can then go and start a new company in the ashes of the fallen. That is the soul of capitalism. That is not possible when dealing with living beings (except for vegetation).
So, Republicans protect the hell out of companies, but do the same for workers. The United States has the ability to do both, but now it comes down to convincing two warring factions that they can do better together than they can apart.
I only hope that, for the sake of all American citizens, the Democrats and Republicans are able to set aside their loathing and rediscover the timeless art of compromise.