Sen. McConnell's Corporate Immunity Bill Will Cost Lives and Prolong Pandemic
U.S. Chamber and Sen. McConnell Push Decades-Old Anti-Consumer, Anti-Worker Agenda as Crisis Worsens
Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to give sweeping liability immunity to corporations will increase infection rates, make consumers and workers less safe and prolong the pandemic because businesses will be allowed to act unreasonably knowing they are immune from accountability.
Sen. McConnell’s stated reasons for demanding blanket immunity are not supported by data or public health. A recent analysis of publicly available data show that contrary to McConnell’s claims, there are only a very small fraction of cases filed for COVID injuries and deaths, while 59% of all the cases involve insurance companies (such as business-to-business lawsuits), civil rights violations (such as people challenging stay-at-home orders) or individuals in prison seeking better pandemic protections. And people won’t want to shop or work at a business that may try to cut corners on safety, knowing that it has immunity from accountability in court: 69% of voters think that giving corporations and businesses guaranteed immunity is a bad idea.
Furthermore, the bill doesn’t address one action that businesses and lawmakers from both parties have been calling for: enforceable, science-based workplace standards to help businesses protect their customers and workers. Some pro-immunity members of Congress are poised to actively oppose such standards.
“Sen. McConnell’s blanket immunity is dangerous. Every time there is a national crisis he pushes for corporate immunity, but if he gets his way this time, it will make it nearly impossible to get ahead of this pandemic and more lives will be lost,” said American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen.“Clear, enforceable standards are what will help us get a handle on this worsening pandemic but instead the Administration is doubling down on its reprehensible lack of leadership regarding mask wearing and other public health directives. Senator McConnell is seeking to remove the only measure of accountability that remains to encourage businesses to act reasonably. It’s the exact opposite of what Congress should be doing.”
“In a time of uncertainty when Americans are desperate for safety and security, Senator McConnell is advancing a bill that is callous and careless,” added AAJ President Tobi Millrood. “This issue is personal for me. My mother died from COVID-19 in a nursing home because a corporation chose to not provide protection to her and other patients. Senator McConnell’s demand for blanket immunity is an affront to the countless Americans who have been sickened or lost a loved one to COVID-19, and it’s shameful that this is his top priority at a time when the pandemic is getting worse and more lives are lost each day.”