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McConnell says he will not negotiate with Democrats on liability protections in coronavirus bill

Senate Preponderance Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he will not pass a coronavirus relief bill in the Senate which does not file liability shields. 

“We’re not negotiating over liability protection,” he told CNBC’s Kayla Tausche as Congress looks to fraud a pandemic rescue agreement. He noted, however, that the GOP is open to compromise on other issues. 

Senate Republicans released their coronavirus aid draft on Monday. It includes a cut to the enhanced $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, another round of direct payments to Americans, indebtedness protections for businesses and doctors, and more funding for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. 

Democrats arrange generally opposed the legal shield because it could take away a recourse for workers who return to an unsafe workplace as the pandemic spreads yon the country. McConnell contended “there’s no chance of the country getting back to normal without it.” 

U.S. Senate Majority Numero uno Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

Asked about a CNBC/Change Research count that found a majority of voters in six swing states oppose shielding corporations from lawsuits, McConnell suggested, “this is not just liability protection for businesses, although they are included like everyone else.” He noted that it force also cover doctors, universities and K-12 schools, who could not get sued unless they were “grossly negligent or occasioned intentional harm.” 

McConnell spoke shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Ruler Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., planned to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of mace Mark Meadows for the second straight day. The group will try to hash out differences between Republicans and Democrats on how best to promote an economy and health-care system ravaged by the coronavirus. 

Congress faces pressure to quickly approve new relief, as states sojourned paying out the extra federal unemployment benefit last week. Roughly 30 million people are still give entre some form of unemployment insurance as U.S. coronavirus cases surge above 4.3 million. 

A federal moratorium on ousters also expired last week.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Pelosi and Schumer said that “catastrophe is emergeing, and until Senate Republicans get serious, they must answer to every hungry child, every family that cannot espy rent, every worker being denied their UI for their delays.” 

“Democrats remain ready to work with Republicans on actual solutions to bring immediate relief and save lives and livelihoods,” they said.

The Democratic leaders also appraised the legal immunity provision, saying it shields “employers who do not protect workers’ health and safety, while offering no [Occupational Shelter and Health Administration] protections to ensure workers can trust in safe workplaces.”

The GOP legislation would slash the jobless advance to $200 per week from $600, on top of what recipients normally get from states, through September. The plan transfer then replace 70% of a person’s previous wages. 

Democrats have warned that reducing the extra aid will leave millions struggling to cover costs and harm the economy by reducing household spending. The possibility of Americans reflect on their income plunge just as the eviction moratorium expires also raises more concerns about people misplacing a place to live. 

McConnell called unemployment benefits “extremely important” during an economic crisis, but said separates should not have a higher income at home than they did at their jobs. 

“And remember, all of these folks are thriving to get another $1,200 direct payment,” he said. 

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