Rep. Porter, a California Democrat, alleged that McConnell is holding coronavirus relief talks captive to win liability exemptions for careless corporations.
California Rep. Katie Porter has publicly criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, claiming the Kentucky Republican has been trying to sabotage bipartisan attempts to create a coronavirus relief package.
For months, McConnell has refused to back any relief bill that does not include broad, coronavirus-related liability exemptions for corporations. Earlier in the year, McConnell went so far as to say the issue of liability was a “red line,” and that he would not move any proposal to vote without sufficient business protections.
Porter, a Democrat, took to Twitter on Tuesday, where she accused McConnell of blatant corruption.
“When I came to Congress, I knew I had a responsibility to pull back the curtain for the American people and expose corruption in real time,” Porter wrote. “So, I’m filling you in on Senator McConnell’s attempts over the last 8 days to tank a *bipartisan* COVID relief bill.”
According to The Hill, Republicans and Democrats alike have rallied behind a $908 billion relief bill, which would extend unemployment benefits for several months while channeling targeted aid to cities and industries badly affected by the novel coronavirus.
“Everyone at the negotiating table—including Senate Rs—has agreed to a compromise,” Porter wrote. “Except one. Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring it to the floor unless it wipes away all COVID-related lawsuits filed that “allege injury or death” due to corporate negligence.”
Porter noted that corporations abusing workers and breaking state or local health restrictions could escape wrongdoing with little or no consequence.
“These lawsuits,” Porter tweeted, “represent the worst of the worst examples of disregard for human life—cases filed on behalf of nursing home patients and grocery store workers who died because the company in charge of keeping them safe prioritized cutting costs over protecting them.”
Porter also pointed out that McConnell has kept silent on President Donald Trump’s numerous legal challenges to President-Elect Joe Biden’s November victory—yet does not seem to mind stripping the option of litigation from Americans who have been genuinely and grievously impacted by the pandemic.
“The same McConnell who said that President Trump is “100% within his rights” to pursue baseless lawsuits alleging election fraud is now refusing to pass urgently-needed relief unless it strips those same rights from the most vulnerable among us,” Porter said. “This must be exposed.”
However, McConnell appears to have since backed down.
In a Tuesday statement, the majority leader said he would be willing to forgo liability protections on this stimulus bill if House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi agree to cut aid to states, cities, and counties struggling to stay financially afloat as COVID continues to ravage their respective coffers.
But Rep. Pelosi said that McConnell’s offer is a non-starter.
“With vaccine distribution being administered by the states, state and local funding is central to our efforts to crush this virus,” Pelosi said.