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White House and Congress Could Consider Stand-Alone Airline Bill

Mere moments after calling off a Phase Four stimulus bill on Twitter, the president opened the door for a series of stand-alone bills which encompass previous proposals. One such bill would offer the additional $25 billion in payroll support the airlines have been requesting, and isn’t necessarily opposed by either side.

When the President of the United States called off negotiations between the House of Representatives and his staff on a phase four bill, travel organizations were quick to denounce the move as a political show of force. Moments later, president Donald Trump announced on Twitter he would be willing to consider several stand-alone bills included in the larger Heroes Act. One such consideration was the additional $25 billion in payroll support money to the airlines.

Payroll Support Bill One of Several on Twitter Docket

Throughout the summer months, the airlines and aviation unions have campaigned on renewing the Payroll Support Program, which prevented the airlines from laying off staff at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the funds running out, the aviation industry lost over 40,000 jobs on Oct. 1, 2020.

Although it appears that negotiations have stalled, the door is open for a set of standalone bills which would support aspects of the larger bill. One such is the payroll support portion, which would give airlines a second round of support, while offering additional funds for the small business paycheck protection program.

According to Democrats, that bill was already suggested and introduced in the House of Representatives. Submitted on Oct. 5, 2020, H.R. 8504 offered to extend the Payroll Support Program for another six months, at the cost of $25 billion. The chief of staff for House speaker Nancy Pelosi says she brought up the bill in a call with the U.S. Treasury secretary for reconsideration.

Unions Ban Together to Urge Passing of Additional Payroll Support

While it’s unclear if either side will negotiate an additional payroll support standalone bill, unions are continuing their campaign to secure additional funding. In a joint letter signed by 13 organizations, including the Air Line Pilots Association, Airlines for America, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, leaders for the unions and trade organization once again called on Congressional leaders to move forward with more financial support.

“Since early summer, we have called for a COVID relief package that would address the dire economic consequences facing the entire transportation sector,” the letter read. “Airline workers are already experiencing the impact of inaction and simply cannot wait any longer for federal aid.”

Until then, airlines say they will be forced to make difficult decisions to move forward. While Southwest Airlines announced pay cuts for executive leaders, both American Airlines and United Airlines are making deep cuts to their November 2020 schedules, anticipating a depressed holiday season for travel.

edge October 10, 2020

As I recall the President and the Senate are all for a stand alone bill. It is the Dems who are against it. I can only conclude the dems have calculated that the suffering incurred will drive people to vote for Biden as they blame the White House. Pretty heartless.

GoProf October 10, 2020

Why should we hand the airlines billions in our tax dollars ? This is just about big industry lobbying dollars and large unions.

edgewood49 October 8, 2020

I agree with Davidhanson above we're done as taxpayers everyone should remember when the unions win it means lots of dues etc in their pockets at the international don't kid yourself. Parker was on CNBC this morning and I just sat there listening to him with my mouth open what &^%*&%^$. He has plenty of cash he like the unions want the payroll money because it also includes "burden" on payroll that "burden" includes certain percentages for overhead/cost which Parkers salary is included.

davidlhanson October 8, 2020

No more handouts for the airlines. They need to downsize to fit the current demand for their product. Why should taxpayers be called to pay employees who are no longer needed? As demand increases, the airlines can hire new employees or recall the ones they laid off.

jamesteroh October 8, 2020

A lot of industries are hurt by this pandemic and the taxpayers aren't bailing them out