After weeks of tense negotiations with the White House, Senate Republicans unveiled their proposal for the new virus relief package, which they've titled The HEALS Act.
Mitch McConnell announces Senate GOP bill will be called "HEALS" Act. Says that's: Health Economic Assistance Li… https://t.co/DQNSV4iRcY— Jeff Stein (@Jeff Stein) 1595880794.0
The "Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act of 2020" seeks to lower extra weekly unemployment income from $600 to $200 for the 40 million people suddenly jobless after the pandemic. It also includes an additional round of stimulus checks for most Americans making under $75 thousand per year.
But the enshrinement of "Liability Protection" in the bill's title is raising some eyebrows.
The liability protection effort would limit workers' ability to sue employers whose refusal to close their doors during the crisis or failure to provide adequate protections resulted in contraction of the virus.
The title reflected what many believe is a pillar of Republican policy: valuing employers over workers.
“Liability protection” That’s your Republican Party. Priority #1: Don’t let workers sue their careless or gree… https://t.co/Ia1U3L9h3I— Nicolas Falacci (@Nicolas Falacci) 1595883616.0
Mitch McConnell is putting Liability Protection in his Coronavirus act. This is vintage Mitch McConnell. His voters… https://t.co/PO8B7NN5kH— JRehling (@JRehling) 1595885960.0
“Liability Protection” is one of the most cynical cons regularly pushed by corporate interests at every level. It… https://t.co/uBDxxJRne9— Jason Kander (@Jason Kander) 1595889494.0
If liability protection for companies is a Republican priority, that means worker safety isn't. https://t.co/cW43L6wSrr— Melanie D'Arrigo (@Melanie D'Arrigo) 1595884194.0
Liability Protection means your family can’t sue the people responsible for your death. It means our leaders who r… https://t.co/cG9GxpAIVu— Adam Christensen (@Adam Christensen) 1595885185.0
The fact that they thought it so vital to the bill that "Liability Protection" gets into the name acronym for the H… https://t.co/C6DNen9OIk— Bong Joon-Ho's Post Oscars Hangover (@Bong Joon-Ho's Post Oscars Hangover) 1595884915.0
The legislation offers a five year liability shield for businesses, universities, hospitals, and schools that prevents them from virus-related lawsuits. This is as Republicans—especially within the White House—push for a full reopening of schools and businesses that some experts have warned is premature.
The bill, in its current state, doesn't offer hazard pay for essential frontline workers.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, or the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, over two months ago.
That bill provides student loan forgiveness, debt relief, food assistance, hazard pay for frontline workers, and more assurances. McConnell called the bill a "socialist's dream" and has refused to bring it to the floor.
People are urging McConnell to pass the HEROES Act instead.
NEW: Senate Republicans want to cut unemployment benefits for 30 million Americans by $400 a week. This CANNOT sta… https://t.co/1obE6sXbVA— Sherrod Brown (@Sherrod Brown) 1595870173.0
Republicans are disarray. President Trump and the Senate GOP still have no plan. And what they are working on rep… https://t.co/VgxlmEg1LT— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1595380433.0
BREAKING: The Senate is voting right now to confirm one of Trump’s judicial nominees. This is what @senatemajldr M… https://t.co/dZr2Pit2Jn— Vanita Gupta (@Vanita Gupta) 1595886613.0
Negotiations are expected to last into August.