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Pelosi: Democrats will not back business liability protections in CARES Act

Pelosi: Democrats will not back business liability protections in CARES Act
© Bonnie Cash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster House Democrats to keep minimum wage hike in COVID-19 relief bill for Friday vote Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Democrats will not support the business liability protections that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-Ky.) is requesting to appear in the next CARES Act. 

The Speaker said during her press briefing that both she and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) have said their priority is to protect workers and patients, not businesses.

“At the time of this coronavirus challenge, especially now, we have every reason to protect our workers and our patients in all of this,” she said. “So we would not be inclined to be supporting any immunity from liability.”

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Pelosi’s comments come as McConnell has demanded that liability protections for businesses be included in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, threatening that without them, it will not pass the Senate.

"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 said during an interview on Fox News Tuesday.

"Let me make it perfectly clear, the Senate is not interested in passing a bill that does not have liability protection," he added.

Democrats and Republicans are negotiating their priorities as the fifth coronavirus bill begins to take shape in Congress. Democrats have been requesting more financial support for state and local governments in the bill, as governors are asking for another $500 billion. The original CARES Act provided state and local governments with $150 billion.

McConnell said he would be open to granting more funding to state and local governments if more funding was given to states to help them enact laws giving more protections to businesses, with the ultimate goal of reopening the economy. 

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Pelosi initially reacted to his comments Tuesday by saying the party does not have “any interest in having any less protection for our workers.”

The majority leader has also criticized the idea of funding state governments, suggesting they instead file for bankruptcy. 

“He said we’re not taking care of their budget woes. That’s not what this is about,” she said Wednesday. “Everything we’re doing is about the coronavirus.”