And there you have it. The real reason Mitch McConnell opposes another big stimulus:
"Above all, Republicans fretted that a vote on such a package could interfere with their hasty timetable for confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett by early next week."https://t.co/KDPvi78t7L
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) October 21, 2020
I keep starting threads about the stimulus talks, but #MoscowMitch and the rest of the GOP Death Cult keep shifting their goalposts. So the Repubs won’t negotiate and Squatter-in-Chief is worthless, but at least Speaker Pelosi and Money-Head Mnuchin are still talking, per Bloomberg:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made further progress on a coronavirus stimulus package Wednesday, according to Pelosi’s office, but Senate Republicans continued to raise objections.
“Today’s conversation brings us closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted after the two negotiators held a 48-minute call Wednesday. “With the exchange of legislative language, we are better prepared to reach compromise on several priorities.”
The two negotiators will talk again Thursday, Hammill said. With the timeframe becoming ever more compressed, both sides on Wednesday floated the potential for final votes after Election Day. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the economy and markets would still benefit from the announcement of a deal between the administration and the House in the next two weeks…
It’s still not clear whether a deal can be reached. Meadows complained that it’s the administration that’s “advancing this negotiation further and further to Nancy Pelosi’s side of the ledger.” The speaker has made only “small” concessions, he said…
“There will be a bill. The question is: is it in time to pay the November rent — my goal — or will it be shortly after,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. “I want people to know that help is on its way. It will be bigger. It will be better. And it will be retroactive.”…
Helping the most vulnerable members of our communities isn’t only the compassionate thing to do — it is the best way to protect the economy as the fight to defeat the coronavirus moves forward. #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/FC2sOYH6MC
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 20, 2020
The Nation, supporting Pelosi’s “recalcitrance”:
… McConnell has decided that he will not allow a stimulus bill to pass unless it includes a “get out of jail free” card for employers who, through pure greedy negligence, allow their workers (or customers) to catch the coronavirus.
The issue of liability protection can be difficult to understand as a moral imperative worth fighting for, but it is. Put simply, the fact that companies and businesses don’t currently have the cover McConnell wants to give them is the reason a lot of people are currently alive.
Here’s how the system works right now: Employers and businesses must take reasonable care to make sure that people don’t get sick or injured on their premises. There are entire canons of law centered around what “reasonable care” looks like, and what steps businesses must take while workers or customers are on their premises. Lawyers call this “tort law.” Tort law is generally left to the states, so the principle of “reasonableness” is more-or-less tied to your community and can vary… But there are general principles. If I walk into a business and a piano falls on my head, I will most likely be able to sue that business, even if the business is called “Dangling Pianos Unlimited.”…
McConnell wants to change all of that. He wants to exempt businesses from state tort liability in cases involving the coronavirus, remove all coronavirus tort claims to federal courts (recently stacked with judges approved by McConnell), change the standard for liability from “reasonable care” to “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” by business owners, and, critically, require people to somehow prove that they got sick from that business and nowhere else.
All of that would essentially exempt businesses from any coronavirus responsibility. It would make it almost impossible for plaintiffs to prove they contracted an airborne virus from a negligent business, particularly in a world where the government does almost no contact tracing. Even if they somehow could prove where they got sick, the willful misconduct standard would be nearly impossible to meet. Consider the case of a restaurant where a waiter tests positive for an asymptomatic case of the coronavirus. A “reasonable” standard would involve expecting the employer to tell that waiter to go home and take care of themselves for 14 days (with pay). A “willful misconduct” standard would require something like ordering the waiter to come to work, and then ordering that waiter to lick all the plates. If McConnell has his way, liability will be functionally out of reach.
That’s unacceptable, because that fear of liability is probably one of the only things keeping businesses from giving in to pure profit motive during the pandemic. If you give businesses liability protection, they will force their workers to come in sick. They will pack too many people inside their storefronts. Liability is pretty much the only thing that is keeping business self-interest and best public health practices aligned…
But then again, is it possible McConnell has more… personal… reasons to be in such a dire hurry over his legacy?
It's from yesterday pic.twitter.com/FuJyxEzqr8
— Annie Shields (@anastasiakeeley) October 21, 2020