Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that Democrats will not support liability protections for employers of “essential workers” in the next coronavirus package.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previously said inclusion of liability protections for businesses and doctors was mandatory for any agreement on a coronavirus relief bill. “If there’s any red line, it’s on litigation,” he said. He added, “If there is another bill that passes in the Senate, it will include the liability protections,” Breitbart reports.
Pelosi said the Democrat party’s opposition to liability protections for “essential” businesses was about workers’ health and safety and argued that liability protection would fail to make employers responsible for ensuring workplaces are safe while also providing no recourse for workers who do get sick.
Allowing workers to sue employers for allegations of negligence related to coronavirus is about “responsibility,” she said.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of the companies and even universities out there have said that they do need some kind of liability protections. Is — are you open to a deal that includes that?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, there are some suggestions that relate to academics to schools and the rest. We have an initiative in California to that respect, but what we will not support is the following: What they’re saying to essential workers, you have to go to work because you’re essential. We’ve placed no responsibility on your employer to make that workplace safe and if you get sick, you have no recourse because we’ve given your employer protection. And if you don’t go to work because you’re afraid of being sick and you have that job opportunity, you don’t get unemployment insurance. This is so unfair. Let’s just get to the heart of it. At the point of all of this is, this president — I have a new name for him, Mr. Make Matters Worse. He has made matters worse from the start. Delay, denial. It’s a hoax. It’ll go away magically. It’s a miracle, and all the rest. And we’re in this situation with — you spelled out some of the numbers very clearly early. So it makes matters worse — now then we send our children to school. The best way to send our children school is to fund it, to fund it. The ventilation —
PELOSI: The spacing, the additional teachers and to lower the infection rate in the community in which they exist. That takes money.
“Companies have said they could be vulnerable to a wave of lawsuits if their workers get sick during the pandemic,” Axios reported. Democrats are the largest recipients of political donations from lawyers, law firms and liability lobbyists.