Rep. Katie Porter launched an attack on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Twitter on Wednesday, outlining the Republican senator's attempts to include coronavirus liability protections for businesses in the next Covid-19 relief bill.
"When I came to Congress, I knew I had a responsibility to pull back the curtain for the American people and expose corruption in real time. So I'm filling you in on Senator McConnell's attempts over the last 8 days to tank a *bipartisan* Covid relief bill," she wrote.
Democrats and Republicans have backed a $908bn Covid-19 relief bill that was unveiled earlier this month.
Progressive Democrats have criticised the bill for not including direct payments and unemployment protections for Americans.
“Everyone at the negotiating table – including Senate Rs – has agreed to a compromise. Except one. Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring it to the floor unless it wipes away all Covid-related lawsuits filed that 'allege injury or death' due to corporate negligence,” she wrote.
She said the cases were not frivolous lawsuits, but the "worst of the worst" examples of businesses putting their employees and patrons at risk in order to save money.
“These lawsuits represent the worst of the worst examples of disregard for human life – cases filed on behalf of nursing home patients and grocery store workers who died because the company in charge of keeping them safe prioritised cutting costs over protecting them,” she wrote.
She also claimed that Mr McConnell's priorities were out of line with the needs of Americans, pointing out that the senator has backed Donald Trump's efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election, while "refusing to pass urgently-needed relief unless it strips those same rights from the most vulnerable among us. This must be exposed".
While Mr McConnell is pushing for corporate liability protection, he has advocated against the inclusion of liability protection for state and local governments.
On Tuesday, Mr McConnell said that he and many Republicans opposed including additional funding to cash-strapped state and local governments.
He said that the legislators should only pass a stimulus relief bill including the points agreed upon by both parties.
"Leader McConnell's efforts to undermine good-faith bipartisan negotiations are appalling," Ms Pelosi said in a statement. "With vaccine distribution being administered by the states, state and local funding is central to our efforts to crush the virus."
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