42 Senators Call McConnell’s Corporate Immunity Proposal ‘Unconscionable’

CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT IMMUNITY

Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a daily tipsheet highlighting key news and important facts on why Congress should not give corporations legal immunity from coronavirus-related harms to workers, consumers, patients and the public. Also refer to our tipsheet on misleading claims from industry groups and conservative lawmakers. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at drosen@citizen.org.

42 SENATORS SPEAK OUT AGAINST CORPORATE IMMUNITY PROPOSAL: On Wednesday, 42 U.S. Senators sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raising concerns with his coronavirus response package and strongly condemned his corporate immunity proposal. “We urge you to abandon sweeping corporate immunity provisions included in the HEALS Act that will profoundly undercut the civil rights of millions, including people with disabilities, communities of color, workers and older adults,” they wrote. “Putting the interests of wealthy corporations ahead of rectifying the anguish COVID-19 has brought down on hard-working Americans and their families is not a starting point for a negotiation – it is unconscionable.”

CASEY CALLS CORPORATE IMMUNITY A ‘WRECKING BALL’ IN FLOOR REMARKS: In U.S. Senate floor remarks on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) addressed the inequity of granting businesses immunity from liability for harm they may cause. “The Republican proposal, in my judgment, when you look at the liability proposal, would slam the doors of justice to those who want to bring an action.” In addition to undermining the Americans With Disabilities Act, the proposal would “decimate federal protections granted under landmark employment and civil rights laws including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the so-called ADEA, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act [and] the Occupational Safety and Health Act, one of the seminal actions or pieces of legislation to protect workers. It would also adversely impact the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I don’t know how you can have more of a wrecking ball in place for these landmark pieces of legislation in the middle of a pandemic.”

CORPORATE IMMUNITY COULD MAKE THE PANDEMIC WORSE: “More than 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, with more than 1,000 deaths now occurring every day. New cases are growing in a majority of states. Immunizing workplaces from liability when companies act unreasonably is the last thing we need right now,” law professor David Vladeck warned in the New York Daily News. “Irresponsible actions by employers or businesses risk further spread of the virus, thus adding to the crushing burdens that Americans are facing.”