WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Top Congressional leaders appear to be at another standstill in the ongoing negotiations on another round of coronavirus relief. This, after some lawmakers said they were nearing a deal earlier this week.
“The Republican leadership is blocking a solution for the entire country until they get a favor for corporations,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
At the end of a week that began with hopeful progress for a COVID-19 relief deal, Congress may have lost ground on meaningful legislation.
“Democrats say the trial lawyers’ interests must come first. they are threatening to kill any compromise,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Leaders of both parties are, once again, blamed each other for inaction.
“The Republican Leader has demanded a partisan poison pill — a sweeping corporate liability shield — be included in any legislation, otherwise he won’t let it pass,” Sen. Schumer said.
Minority leader Schumer said Republicans were willing to kill a deal because they insist businesses should have protections against COVID-related lawsuits from customers or employees who may become ill.
“Corporations who want protection from a few dozen lawsuits is equivalent to millions of workers from state and local governments being laid off, give me a break,” he said.
While Republican Senate leader McConnell said his party can’t accept Democrats’ ask: hundreds of billions of dollars for struggling state and local governments, who’ve seen their tax bases dry up.
“In what universe should emergency aid for small businesses be contingent, contingent on massive bailouts for state governments,” McConnell said.
McConnell and many fellow Republicans said those funds would “bailout” mismanaged states.
“Democrats are acting like it’s more important to supply the governor of California with a special slush fund than to help restaurant workers,” he said.
On funding for state and local governments, many rank in file Republicans like Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) agree if it’s part of a stimulus deal she won’t support it.
“Tennesseans are very much opposed,” Sen. Blackburn said. “They say, above all else, do not bail out these states, these cities.”
Likewise, Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the party will hold firm on giving corporations immunity from lawsuits.
“Sometimes because companies don’t behave, workers need to sue them to make sure the workplace is safe,” Sen. Brown said.