Durbin to McConnell: Don't Hold Emergency COVID-19 Relief For Families & Small Businesses Hostage Over Liability Immunity for Corporations

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief framework, which totals $908 billion, to the Senate floor for a vote.  The bipartisan framework includes funding for state and local governments, unemployment insurance, small businesses, vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing, health care providers, housing and education assistance, and more.  Durbin also called on McConnell to set aside the issue of federal liability immunity for corporations from lawsuits related to the pandemic so that Congress can pass this emergency relief for American families and small businesses before the holidays.

“The Senator from Kentucky is insisting that there be immunity to liability as part of any agreement.  It is a thorny topic, a difficult topic, a controversial topic, but I plead with him to hold to another day the overall issue of liability.  Accept this emergency bill that we have put together as a bipartisan group of Senators to address this issue in the reality of the world that we live,” Durbin said.  “How can we, in good conscience, go home for Christmas knowing that the day after Christmas, 12 million Americans will see their unemployment insurance disappear because of our inability to act?  What kind of spirit is that of any holiday season?”

Durbin continued, “I hope we realize that this bipartisan effort, put together by a group of Senators which I’ve been honored to be a part of, is a good faith effort to answer the basic questions of what is needed now in America and what is needed on an emergency basis.  It’s a good bill, [although] far from perfect.  It deserves a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.