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 McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish 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 CollinsDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami MORE (R-Maine), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOn The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami The Hill's Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in 'promptly' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBreaking the Chinese space addiction Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error Billionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden 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.