White House Willing to Drop McConnell’s Unpopular Corporate Immunity Proposal

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.

WHITE HOUSE WILLING TO DROP CORPORATE IMMUNITY PROPOSAL: The White House is willing to cut a deal with Democrats that leaves out a Republican proposal aimed at granting immunity from liability to corporations, hospitals and schools, according to two people with knowledge of internal White House planning. One of the people told the Washington Post that the measure was “considered important but not absolutely essential.” In contrast with U.S. Senate Republicans, the White House sees the immunity proposal as something they can “live without.”

141 ORGANIZATIONS TELL CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP THEY OPPOSE CORPORATE IMMUNITY: On Thursday, 141 organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership opposing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) proposal to grant businesses immunity. The letter said: “In May, the undersigned organizations wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to strongly oppose any legislation that would establish nationwide immunity for businesses that operate in an unreasonably unsafe manner, causing workers and consumers to risk COVID-19 infection… Now, after reviewing S. 4317, the SAFE TO WORK Act, we are dismayed to see that this proposal is worse than we could have imagined. We strongly and unreservedly oppose S. 4317.”

FLORIDA, GEORGIA, LOUISIANA AND NEVADA VOTERS FAVOR WORKPLACE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS OVER CORPORATE IMMUNITY: Two new polls found that voters in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada strongly oppose giving corporations immunity from coronavirus related lawsuits. Nearly six in ten voters (57%) across Florida, Georgia and Louisiana agree that individuals should be able to “hold corporations and business liable if they endanger the health and safety of their workers and customers by not taking proper precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.” Only one-third of voters (33%) in each state support immunity. Independents in each state opposed immunity by a roughly two-to-one margin. Similarly, a second poll found that a majority of Nevada voters favor workplace safety requirements over corporate immunity when given the choice between the two. Fifty percent of respondents favored the workplace safety option, compared to 30% on the liability protection option. Independents favored the workplace safety option by a 22-point margin.

DURBIN SHARES TOP 10 REASONS TO OPPOSE CORPORATE IMMUNITY: On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent a dear colleague letter listing the top 10 reasons why McConnell’s corporate immunity proposal should be rejected. “The McConnell immunity bill does nothing to protect workers, improve safety standards, or give businesses incentive to take proper precautions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, it does the opposite – it views workers, customers and victims as the problem, and it sets high hurdles that would prevent meritorious coronavirus claims from having their day in court.”