With 'Liability Shield' Red-Line Looming Over Stimulus Bill, Schumer Claims Dems "Have A Lot Of Leverage & Aren't Afraid To Use It"

While the to-ing and fro-ing over whether $200 is too little and $600 is too much plays out, the bigger issue separating the two sides of the aisle over the next US aid package is unlikely to find a goldilocks 'just right' outcome anytime soon.

As a reminder the Senate GOP plan includes:

  • $1,200 direct payments, CARES redux

  • PPP sequel "to help prevent more layoffs"

  • Federal UI bonus, hints at $200/week

  • Money for schools

  • $ for testing, treatment, vaccines

  • Liability shield for biz/hospitals/entities

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reaffirmed that his proposed changes to liability law must be included wholesale in the aid package during an interview on CNBC, saying...

...the legislation “will have liability protection in it, so we’re not negotiating with the Democrats over that.”

On the other side, as Bloomberg reports, Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said he doesn’t see any reason his party would support the plan to shield businesses, schools and other organizations from lawsuits over Covid-19 infections from employees or customers.

“This is an effort by the Republicans to seize the moment and to push through changes in tort law that they have been longing for for decades that have nothing to do with Covid-19."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the first day of negotiations did not go well:

“It wasn’t a good way for us to begin the discussion.” 

Schumer was less pessimistic, and more bombastic, proclaiming that Democrats have the power and Republicans are desperate:

“I think Republicans are reading the polls. The president is slumping, their Republican Senate candidates are slumping in the polls. They have to show something,"

Adding that:

"We don't have a majority in the Senate and we can't pass it alone, but we have a lot of leverage and we're going to use it,"

But on the bright side, we did not get leaked photos of her standing and pointing across the cabinet desk at members of the Trump admin.

Finally, Trump weighed in, giving himself an out by saying that there are some things in the Republican package that he doesn’t support.

The Senate Republicans' more modest $1 trillion stimulus package unveiled yesterday remains a far cry from the blockbuster $3.5 trillion proposal that Democrats have proposed and thus, by the end of the farcical theater pretending to be a negotiation, the final sum will likely be closer to the latter than the former...

McConnell is somewhat cornered by pressure from more fiscally responsible conservatives (of course that is all relative). As Senator Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican warned:

“The bigger the price tag gets, the fewer Republicans that will support it."

And if they do, one wonders what that will do the price of gold?