McConnell: Leave Out Liability Protection, State and Local Funding From Stimulus Bill

December 8, 2020 Updated: December 8, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the “most contentious” issues such as state and local funding or liability protections should be set aside by Congress members so lawmakers can reach a stimulus deal agreement by the end of the year.

“Any kind of liability relief they [Democrats] instinctively, like a pavlovian response, object to,” McConnell said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Why don’t we set aside the two obviously most contentious issues? We know we’re going to be confronted with another request after the first of the year. We’ll live to fight those another day and pass the things we agree on.”

“My view, and I think it’s the view shared by literally everybody on both sides of the aisle: We can’t leave without doing a COVID bill. The country needs it,” the majority leader said, referring to the disease caused by the CCP virus. “We need to do this.” He added: “It remains my view that we ought to pass what we can agree on.”

Republicans have long balked at extensive funding for state and local governments, while Democrats have objected to providing liability protections for businesses, hospitals, and others trying to reopen during the CCP virus pandemic.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said many senators do not want to “bail out” states, reiterating an argument from Republicans for months. “We need a targeted fiscally responsible approach to coronavirus relief,” he said.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in reference to a $900 billion bipartisan stimulus proposal, said at a news conference that the smaller bill shows “momentum.” She added: “The tone of our conversations is one that is indicative of the decision to get the job done.”

“That would be a hope, because that is the vehicle leaving the station,” Pelosi said. “We would want a big, strong vote.”

On Dec. 4, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, however, told Bloomberg News that it’s not clear what will happen.

“I can’t say one way or the other what the outcome’s going to be,” he said, while noting that $160 billion proposed under the bipartisan package to state and local governments might not receive much GOP support.