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Washington Backs Plan to Extend Payroll Support Program

Washington Backs Plan to Extend Payroll Support Program
Joe Cortez

A group of Republican Senators and the White House are all backing a plan to add another $25 billion to the airlines’ Payroll Support Program, after increased pressure from unions and airline executives. The additional support would help airlines keep employees on the payroll, after threatening to reduce their workforce by over 60,000 people.

Both the U.S. Senate and the White House are now in support of adding additional funds to the Payroll Support Program as part of a “Phase Four” economic stimulus bill. A group of Republican Senators are now pledging to support the bill, and is echoed by the president of the United States.

Trump: “We Don’t Want To Lose Our Airlines”

The first sign of support came from the Senate, according to a letter released by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and signed by at least nine other prominent Republican senators. Addressed to the leaders of the Senate, the group said they support “a clean extension of payroll support for passenger air employers included in the CARES Act to avoid furloughs and further support those workers.”

“While we understand air travel levels have increased since March, they still remain far below 2019 levels,” the letter signed by Gardner and other reads. “In recent weeks, several airlines have notified significant segments of their workforces that their jobs could be at risk on October 1, 2020, following the expiration of CARES Act relief.”

The group also asked for Congress to consider supporting businesses that are supported by the greater aviation industry. The businesses would include “airport concessionaires” and aviation manufacturing companies.

The senators were not the only one saying they would support more money to keep airport workers on the payroll. During a press availability, President Donald Trump told reporters he is also in support of extending the Payroll Support Program.

“I think it’s very important that we keep the airlines going,” Trump said in the briefing when asked about the Payroll Support Program, according to CNBC. “We don’t want to lose our airlines. If they’re looking at that, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, I’d be certainly in favor. We can’t lose our transportation system.”

Unions Celebrate Movement as “Overwhelming Support” of PSP Extension

Unions were quick to call the letter a victory in their fight to extend the PSP program for airlines. The Air Lines Pilots Association, The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and even Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly have publicly lobbied for another round of funding.

“This provision is the most successful jobs program of COVID relief and maintains service to all of our communities,” AFA-CWA president Sara Nelson said in a press release. “This provision was adopted in March with bipartisan support and has even broader support now as a proven program. We thank Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) for leading on this letter and all Senators who signed demonstrating overwhelming bipartisan majority support.”

The unions warn without additional support, over 60,000 jobs would be lost on Oct. 1, 2020. United Airlines sent WARN notices to over 30,000 employees, while American Airlines notified over 20,000 employees their jobs could be at risk.

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. FlyingNone

    August 6, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Wow, I wouldn’t mind going to a job with only 20-30% of the work to be done and getting paid my full salary. If I’m really clever, I’d find a way to look busy, do 5-10% of my work and watch the rest of the folks at the bottom hustle for me. The problem with having nothing to do is you never know when you’re done.

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