May 12 the full Senate Judiciary Committee met for a hearing entitled “Examining Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Members of the committee discussed the various concerns related to reopening the country while dealing with COVID-19 related liability issues that businesses and public institutions may face in the process.
At the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said: “The federal role in creating liability protections needs to be limited. We’re not going to preempt all state laws here about everything. We need to make sure that bad actors are not given a break, but that the people who are trying to do it right can reopen their businesses in their communities, schools, and colleges with the assurance that if you practice the right procedures that you don’t have to worry about getting sued on top of everything else.”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has echoed that sentiment and said on other occasions that Congress must agree to change the current liability system before he’d agree to other costly proposals in a future COVID-19 relief bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has indicated she’s open to the idea of protecting businesses that follow government regulations and guidelines, and some moderate Democrats have expressed support for some liability protections.