Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday backed off his demand for businesses to get coronavirus-related liability protections as part of a year-end rescue package.
The Kentucky Republican urged Congress to pass an aid bill that contains neither legal immunity nor state and local government support, two roadblocks to lawmakers striking a relief deal.
It is unclear whether Democrats, who oppose a liability shield, will embrace the tradeoff as they warn of teacher and firefighter layoffs in the absence of federal aid to states and municipalities.
„What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local, and pass those things that we can agree on knowing full well we’ll be back at this after the 1st of the year“ during the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
McConnell specifically mentioned a handful of areas where Republicans and Democrats have found consensus: Paycheck Protection Program small business loans, money for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and aid for health-care providers, among „a variety of other things that are not controversial.“ He did not say where he currently stands on direct payments to Americans.