Trump backs plan to give airlines another $25 billion in aid

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President Trump on Wednesday signaled that he supports extending aid to the country’s lagging airline industry as Congress continues to debate how its latest coronavirus stimulus bill will look.

The tentative plan, which has bipartisan support, would give U.S. airlines an additional $25 billion in payroll support that would last through March of 2021. In March of this year, the industry received $32 billion from the CARES Act. The money has gone to supplement airlines’ payrolls due to the economic tailspin caused by the pandemic under the condition that companies can’t involuntarily furlough employees until after Sept. 30.

However, the industry is not doing markedly better than it was in March, and companies have warned that tens of thousands of workers will be laid off in October if the payroll assistance isn’t extended. Airline executives and unions have reportedly requested Congress to allocate another $32 billion to the fund.

“I think it’s very important that we keep the airlines going,” Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing. “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.”

Also on Wednesday, a group of more than a dozen Senate Republicans penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressing their support for a renewal of the aid.

“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.”

Tags Airline industry CARES Act Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Coronavirus Donald Trump Mitch McConnell relief bill Stimulus Package

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