Response to Schumer’s False Narrative on Liability Protections
by John Cornyn on December 14, 2020 at 1:48 PM
On the Senate floor, I recently pushed back against Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) opposition to including protections for small businesses, schools, churches from frivolous lawsuits in the next round of COVID relief.
We shouldn't let the tail wag the dog when it comes to providing common sense liability protection.
The Minority Leader tries to frame this as a green light for big, bad businesses to ignore public health guidelines and to put every person who walks through their doors in danger of contracting COVID-19. That's a false narrative.
What we are proposing will help people.
First, it will help, as I said, our health care heroes, the brave men and women who’ve led in this battle for months. They have made tremendous physical and mental sacrifices to save lives, but without some liability protection from Congress, they could find themselves staring down the barrel of a wave of medical malpractice lawsuits.
We need to ensure that our health care workers aren't taken to the cleaners for doing everything in their power, in good faith, to respond to the crisis.
But as I said, it's not just health care workers who need our help.
There are, for example, our public schools, our colleges, our universities which have tried to adapt in trying circumstances and trying to allow our K-12 students and young people who attend our colleges and universities an opportunity to continue their education safely, to the best of their ability. A number of national groups representing education leaders, including superintendents, school boards, and other leaders sent a letter to Senator Schumer and other congressional leaders about the urgent need for these protections.
The President and Executive Director of the National American Dental Association wrote a letter thanking the Judiciary Committee for reviewing liability protections and asking Congress to pass these reforms. Similar to the other comments that have been made from other organizations, they said while safeguarding their patients, their staff, and themselves from the spread of COVID-19, dental practices must also safeguard their businesses from bad-faith actors pursuing frivolous financial gain for coronavirus injuries.
We've heard from a long list of groups and it's not the Fortune 500 like the Democratic Leader has proposed. This isn't corporate protection. This is common sense.
We've heard concerns from everything from U.S. Youth Soccer worried about their volunteers being sued, the American Heart Association worried about their fundraisers, churches worried about their ability to serve their communities with this cloud hanging over their heads. So who is acting in bad faith here? Not the schools. Not the charities. Not the health care providers who are calling for the limited protections this legislation would provide. No, it's the trial bar. It's the trial lawyers who are trying to use this pandemic to make money.
Who are we here going to bat for? Are we going to bat for a small group of wealthy lawyers or are we going to bat for 330 million Americans? That's the choice, it seems to me. And the Democratic Leader's carrying water for that wealthy elite minority, the members of the trial bar, by mischaracterizing this effort and blocking relief for his own constituents.