Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over his refusal to support bipartisan stimulus legislation this week, accusing the powerful GOP lawmaker of working behind the scenes to protect corporations rather than Americans in need of financial support.
Congress has renewed talks with the White House this week over a new stimulus package as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Those conversations center on a potential $916 billion package offered by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday to counter Democrats’ proposals in recent months.
Senate Republicans have so far insisted that any package should include sweeping immunity protections for businesses that may be liable for negligence in any future coronavirus-related lawsuits, immunity Democrats oppose. Porter accused McConnell of being one of the chief architects stymying negotiations on Tuesday.
“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 tweeted. “So, I’m filling you in on Senator McConnell’s attempts over the last 8 days to tank a *bipartisan* COVID relief bill.”
McConnell has defended the push for immunity protections, warning Tuesday that businesses would see a “developing epidemic of lawsuits headed their way.” He suggested later that he could drop the immunity provision if lawmakers also tank financial provisions to support state and local governments. Democrats shot down that idea and accused McConnell of trying to “sabotage” the negotiations.
Porter echoed her fellow Democrats’ sentiments on Tuesday.
“Everyone at the negotiating table — including Senate R — has agreed to a compromise. Except one,” Porter continued. “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 suggested it was hypocritical for McConnell to make such a demand since he supported President Donald Trump’s “baseless lawsuits” attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election, relying on a bevy of lies and mistruths to do so.
“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 wrote. “This must be exposed.”