Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

In addition to a drive-thru line, there was a walk up line for food distribution at South Gate High School in Southgate on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

In addition to a drive-thru line, there was a walk up line for food distribution at South Gate High School in Southgate on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. (Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

Sanders Slams McConnell for Pushing '3-Martini Lunch' Deduction and Zero Relief for 26 Million Hungry Americans

"The Republicans l-o-v-e corporate socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the rest. Ain't gonna happen."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for pushing a coronavirus relief measure that contains a 100% tax deduction for business meals—a gift to corporate executives—but nothing for the tens of millions of people across the U.S. who are struggling to afford food for themselves and their families.

"Mitch McConnell's 'new' Covid relief bill gives CEOs a 100% tax deduction for a 3-martini lunch, but ZERO to the 26 million who don't have enough food to eat," the Vermont senator tweeted. "Yes. The Republicans l-o-v-e corporate socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the rest. Ain't gonna happen."

On Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported, the Kentucky Republican began circulating a purportedly "targeted" coronavirus stimulus proposal that would grant corporations sweeping immunity from coronavirus related lawsuits without providing a federal boost to unemployment benefits, another round of direct payments, or any aid to state and local governments.

"Let's be clear about what Covid-19 'liability protections' would mean: letting corporations off the hook if they decide they care more about making a quick buck than keeping workers safe"
—Sen. Ron Wyden

The plan also omits nutrition assistance amid a worsening nationwide hunger crisis; according to Census Bureau data, 26 million U.S. adults reported in late October and early November that they did not have enough food to eat.

McConnell's proposal was immediately dismissed as a non-starter by many Democratic lawmakers, who characterized the plan as woefully inadequate to address the twin public health and economic crises ravaging the nation.

"This is an insult to the millions of workers and businesses that are losing their livelihoods because of this crisis," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. "This proposal doesn't come close to giving Americans the help they desperately need to stay afloat."

With a possible government shutdown just over a week away and time running out to secure a coronavirus relief agreement before the end of the year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday threw their support behind a new bipartisan, bicameral compromise proposal as the "basis" for negotiations.

Unlike McConnell's plan, the bipartisan proposal would provide a $300-per-week federal boost to unemployment insurance, a key lifeline that 12 million Americans are set to lose on December 26 without congressional action. The bipartisan group of lawmakers also called for a liability shield for corporations that would reportedly be more limited than the one McConnell is pushing, though specific language has not yet been made public.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday was among those raising concerns about the bipartisan compromise package, specifically citing the corporate liability protections as a key sticking point.

"Let's be clear about what Covid-19 'liability protections' would mean: letting corporations off the hook if they decide they care more about making a quick buck than keeping workers safe," Warren tweeted Wednesday. "We can't let businesses escape accountability for putting people's lives at risk."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Praised for $15 Minimum Wage Hike for All Federal Workers

"Setting a new $15 per hour wage floor for federal government work will encourage employers across the country who are currently paying poverty wages to compete for labor and start paying fairer rates."

Brett Wilkins ·


Saudi Bombings Kill Scores of Civilians—Including Children—in Yemen

"America is complicit in this," said one critic of "this horrific war that Biden and his senior officials once promised to end."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Atrocious': Biden Renominates Chevron Lawyer First Chosen by Trump

Human rights attorney Steven Donziger noted that the president's pick for the federal bench "was paid millions... to help jail me, attack Indigenous peoples, and cover up a massive oil spill in the Amazon."

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Backs Kroger Workers Striking Over 'Corporate Greed'

"It is time for Kroger to go back to the negotiating table and reach an agreement with the union," writes Sen. Bernie Sanders in a new letter to Kroger's millionaire CEO.

Jake Johnson ·


AOC Endorses Cisneros Primary Challenge Against Cuellar

"Cuellar, the last anti-choice 'Democrat' in the House," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "had a 70% voting record of siding with Donald Trump."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo