Congress’ next coronavirus stimulus bill must include liability protections for businesses that try to reopen amid the pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
There’s a “high likelihood” that lawmakers take another stab at blunting the virus’ economic impact, the Kentucky Republican said, but the bill must shield businesses from virus-related lawsuits to get President Trump’s signature.
“That will have to be a part of any package, because if we’re really going to get the economy up and going again, people have to be brave enough to begin to engage in economic activity,” McConnell told Fox News on Thursday, saying Republicans are working on a “narrowly crafted” protection.
McConnell also dismissed House Democrats’ latest $3 trillion stimulus proposal as a “liberal wish list.” The 1,800-page bill introduced this week calls for another round of $1,200 checks for taxpayers, but McConnell said it would provide money for illegal immigrants and mentions cannabis more than jobs.
“It strikes me as hardly salvageable,” McConnell said. “It’s a parade of absurdities that can hardly be taken seriously.”
McConnell outlined Senate Republicans’ stimulus priorities after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell nudged Congress on Wednesday to take further action to shore up the economy.
While federal lawmakers have approved nearly $3 trillion in stimulus spending since late March, Powell said another package “could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term damage.”
But McConnell would not commit to a timeline for another bill. “We will let you know when we think the time is right to begin to move again,” he said.
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