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Group of GOP senators back more money for airlines to pay workers

Group of GOP senators back more money for airlines to pay workers
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican senators are pushing for more money for airlines to be included in the upcoming stimulus package. 

In a letter addressed to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerA Biden stumble on China? First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.), the 16 GOP senators asked them to “support a clean extension of payroll support” included in the CARES Act. 

The March stimulus package included $32 billion in payroll subsidies for the airline industry, which was hard-hit early on in the pandemic. Those funds and the ban on layoffs within the industry both expire Oct. 1.

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The lawmakers noted that though travel has increased, it is not back to 2019 levels. Airlines have reported massive losses that could potentially trigger layoffs or furloughs. 

“Such businesses and their workers are uniquely tethered to air travel and have been and will continued to be significantly impacted by the decline in air travel,” the lawmakers wrote. "Congress should also renew support for our nation’s airports as they continue to facilitate passengers as safely as possible."

Though the lawmakers did not specify an exact amount they wanted in the bill, airline executives and unions have reportedly requested Congress allocate another $32 billion. 

Several lawmakers signed on to the bill are facing tough reelections, such as Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill MORE (R-Maine), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyHouse Freedom Caucus chair weighs Arizona Senate bid New rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees The Seventeenth Amendment and the censure of Donald Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) and Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.).  

Their request comes as lawmakers continue negotiating a stimulus package. The $1 trillion Republican proposal does not include additional funding for the airline industry; the $3 trillion Democratic proposal does.