Two Key Senators Propose Bill to Avoid Job Cuts in Airlines
(Reuters) - Two key Republican senators on Monday introduced legislation that would authorize $28.8 billion in payroll assistance to avoid thousands of airline industry layoffs set to begin on Oct. 1.
Senators Roger Wicker, who chairs the Commerce Committee, and Susan Collins, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee overseeing airline issues, introduced the measure that would grant airlines a new bailout days before existing payroll support runs out.
Airlines are making a last-ditch effort to win funding, but face an uphill battle with Congress shifting its attention to the pending Supreme Court vacancy, congressional aides say.
The chief executives of some major U.S. airlines are expected to be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to act, and to make TV appearances on Wednesday, two people briefed on the matter said.
The bill would tap $11.2 billion in new funds and $17.4 billion in funding repurposed from other unspent funds from prior coronavirus relief measures.
Congress in March approved $25 billion in payroll assistance but required airlines not to cut jobs or flights through Sept. 30.
The White House said last week it is also open to a stand-alone measure to aid airlines, though congressional aides say that is unlikely to win passage given aid requests from so many other struggling industries
The Wicker-Collins bill would dedicate $25.5 billion for new passenger airlines and allow smaller airlines to qualify for 15% additional funds versus the initial round. It would set aside $300 million for cargo carriers and $3 billion for airport contractors.