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McConnell’s Partisan Corporate Immunity Proposal Would Protect Corporate Donors, Endanger Workers


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.

MCCONNELL’S PARTISAN BILL LACKS DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) coronavirus response proposal – including the measure granting corporations five years of immunity from coronavirus lawsuits – was put together behind closed doors without any input from U.S. Senate Democrats. “This one-party approach is the same approach that delayed the passage of the CARES Act, delayed the passage of the subsequent emergency relief legislation, utterly failed on policing reform where the Republican bill was opposed by 136 civil rights organizations,” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in floor remarks. “McConnell’s bill will prioritize corporate special interests over workers and main street businesses – it will fail to adequately address the worsening spread of the virus,” Schumer said in reference to the corporate immunity provision.

PELOSI: STRONG, ENFORCEABLE OSHA STANDARDS ARE THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT WORKERS AND BUSINESSES: Since March, Democrats in the U.S. House have been pushing for an emergency U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard to strengthen protections for workers during the pandemic. A $3.5 trillion relief bill passed by the House in May included the requirement for OSHA to issue such a standard. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has argued that the OSHA standard is the best way to protect businesses, because if businesses ensure that their employees follow appropriate health standards, there will be less transmission and far less possibility of being held liable for people who do get sick. Both McConnell and U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have rejected an OSHA standard, and instead plan to fight for five years of legal immunity for corporations.

A TRICKLE OF LAWSUITS, A FLOOD OF BUSINESS LOBBYING: Despite the Chicken Little warnings coming from big business lobbyists, there’s only a trickle of health and safety coronavirus lawsuits. What’s really going on is that big businesses want to shut down ways for people to hold them accountable – a longtime business goal. Even as tens of thousands of Americans are getting sick every day and tens of millions have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by, Republicans in Congress are relentlessly focused on shielding big corporate donors from accountability.