Washington state lawmakers press Boeing to accept aid
Washington state members of Congress teamed up to urge Boeing to take relief aid while the company is suspending operations due to the coronavirus pandemic devastating the industry.
Boeing requested $60 billion in financial relief in March. The coronavirus relief package Congress passed later that month included $454 billion in loans for businesses, including $17 billion for businesses critical to maintaining national security, like Boeing.
“However, we are disappointed to read reports that you are now considering forgoing the relief Boeing requested,” Washington Democratic Reps. Rick Larsen, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schrier, Pramila Jayapal, Suzan DelBene and Adam Smith wrote to Boeing CEO David Calhoun on Monday.
Boeing was already in a fragile state before global travel was nearly halted. The company grounded its 737 Max jets and endured setbacks to fixing and delivering KC-46 military tankers for the Pentagon.
However, Calhoun doesn’t want to accept the aid if that means the government takes an ownership stake in the company, the Seattle Times reported. Boeing plans to pay employees through Tuesday and then 30,000 employees will have to use paid time off.
“Aviation and aerospace machinists, engineers, electricians, technicians and other line workers are the backbone of Washington state’s economy and communities across the country. We hope the Boeing Company will consider making full use of the CARES Act’s economic relief provisions to support these workers, local communities and the U.S. aviation and aerospace industry,” the members wrote.
Boeing did not immediately respond to the Hill’s request for comment.
The aircraft maker and defense contractor suspended operations at two Washington state plants — Puget Sound and Moses Lake — until further notice to focus on safety of employees, the company announced on Sunday.
It also temporarily suspended operations in South Carolina on Monday and operations at its facilities in Ridley Township, Pa., last week.
“Given the severe harm the nation’s aerospace industry and hardworking women and men at the Boeing company are experiencing during this pandemic, we hope you will consider utilizing the economic assistance provided by the CARES Act to safeguard thousands of jobs at Boeing in Washington state and across the country,” the members wrote.
The lawmakers also asked Boeing to provide information on if they expect to apply for the financial assistance provided by the relief package, if they will eliminate layoffs, if they will change cleaning practices and if they will assist suppliers and industry jobs that the company supports.
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