Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

The next coronavirus relief bill is expected to include additional protections for frontline workers or protect employers from pandemic-related lawsuits — but to what degree is anybody’s guess right now. 

The battle has already begun between Democrats, who generally tout themselves as wanting to protect workers, and Republicans, whose leaders promote protecting employers, as lawmakers prepare to hammer out a new proposal once they reconvene, Kaiser Health News reported.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stressed that the next bill must include liability protections for employers, including long-term care and senior living operators. The senator has proposed a five-year immunity period, from December 2019 to 2024, according to the Kaiser report. 

“This is not just for businesses. This is for hospitals, doctors, nurses, nonprofits, universities, colleges, K-12, so that people who acted in good faith during this crisis are not confronted with a second epidemic of lawsuits in the wake of a pandemic that we’re already struggling with,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that the “best protection for the employer is to protect the workers.”

Nursing home providers last week expressed hope that both operators and workers would be pleased with the next bill. Several experts predicted that lawsuit protections and further stimulus checks for low wage earners could be included.