“If Americans want to go back to work and back to school in the fall, we will need to reopen the country” – but, not in a way that will “inflict some far-left extreme makeover on the country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.
Addressing the Senate, McConnell called it wrong for Democrats to try to exploit efforts to provide coronavirus relief in order to recreate the U.S. in their own image:
“If Americans want to go back to work and back to school in the fall, we will need to reopen the country.
“No doubt, there will be many discussions here in Congress about more ways we could help make that happen. Already, we’re hearing that House Democrats are cobbling together another big laundry list of pet priorities. Even the media is describing it as a partisan wish list with no chance of becoming law.
“This is exactly the wrong approach. It is the wrong approach when a senior House Democrat calls this pandemic, quote, ‘a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’
“It is the wrong approach when Vice President Biden calls this tragedy, quote, an ‘incredible opportunity… to fundamentally transform the country.’”
The American people “just need a path back” to the prosperity they enjoyed before the coronavirus devastation – not obstacles to reopening or “some far-left extreme makeover” – Sen. McConnell said:
“The American people don’t need a far-left transformation. They just need a path back to the historically prosperous and optimistic moment they had built for themselves until about 12 weeks ago.
“American workers don’t need Washington to inflict some far-left extreme makeover on the country. They need us to get rid of obstacles that might stand in their way.”
One obstacle to reopening is the threat “a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits” against businesses that try to safely reopen, Sen. McConnell said:
“One such obstacle is already becoming obvious. A second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits could follow the actual pandemic and crush our recovery before it begins.
“Already, more than two-thirds of independent business owners say they are specifically worried about a legal liability minefield getting in the way of re-opening. Already, plaintiff’s lawyers have begun filing hundreds of COVID-related complaints in courts across the country.
“This is exactly the kind of hostile environment that could take our re-opening and recovery from challenging to downright impossible. So, the Senate is going to act. Senate Republicans are preparing a major package of COVID-related liability reforms to foster our economic recovery.”
“We have to make sure opportunistic trial lawyers are not lurking on the sidewalk outside every small business in America, waiting to slap them with a lawsuit the instant they turn the lights back on,” McConnell said.
Nonetheless, Republicans are not advocating immunity from legitimate lawsuits, McConnell promised:
“To be clear: We are not talking about immunity from lawsuits. There will be accountability for actual gross negligence and intentional misconduct.”