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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico on Monday it is "highly likely" that the next coronavirus response bill will provide aid to local governments, but Congress may tie the funds to limiting employer liabilities amid workers' returns.

Why it matters: Policymakers have expressed concerns about liabilities as businesses reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark told Axios last week that employers could face massive liability concerns, calling it "a second economic risk."

  • McConnell told Politico that a proposal to limit such liabilities would be required as part of any deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • "The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one. So we need to prevent that now when we have the opportunity to do it," he said.

Between the lines: It's the latest complexity in McConnell's stance on coronavirus aid for local governments.

  • He pushed back against Democrats' efforts to include money for local governments in the most recent $484 billion round of aid, and he suggested last week that states should declare bankruptcy instead of feeding off federal aid.
  • "I’m open to additional assistance. It’s not just going to be a check, though, you get my point?" McConnell told Politico.
  • "We’re not writing a check to send down to states to allow them to, in effect, finance mistakes they’ve made unrelated to the coronavirus," he added.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
34 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.