WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Democrats and Republicans agree: Americans need more help to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic. But negotiations to send another round of stimulus checks and extend unemployment insurance are stalled over the issue of liability protections for business.
Republican senators say their next coronavirus relief package will help struggling Americans with stimulus checks. South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said increased unemployment insurance should also be included – although at less than the current $600 per week.
“The Republican plan has $1200 per individual,” Rounds said. “The simplest way will be to compromise between the Republican position and the Democrat position, bump the amount up a little bit over $200.”
The GOP plan also includes liability protections for schools and businesses to protect them from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Right now, that’s one of the issues holding up a vote on the Republican plan.
“There won’t be a bill that passes the Senate that won’t have this in it,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Democrats say they will not approve a stimulus package that includes the liability protections Republicans are currently proposing.
“It says all medical malpractice — COVID related or not — state medical malpractice is gone until 2024,” said New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Schumer said that’s a radical change of law that Democrats cannot accept.
And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also took issue.
“This liability provision he put on there is McConnell liability on steroids,” she said. “He has taken it to a whole other place.”