It’s just a draft, and it’s a partisan draft at that, but the first stab at putting together what would be the third coronavirus relief package written by Democrats includes more aid for airlines.
As reported by the Washington D.C.-based publication The Hill , House Democrats' draft legislation for the next coronavirus relief package includes $15 billion for U.S. airlines. That includes $14 billion for airlines to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) to pay its workers through Sept. 30 of this year and $1 billion for workers of eligible airline contractors.
That’s a stark difference from President Biden’s original $1.9 trillion relief proposal, which included no further funds for the beleaguered airline industry. The airlines received $25 billion from the original stimulus package in March of 2020 called the CARES Act, and another $15 billion in December.
Airline unions have been lobbying hard for funds to be included in the third relief package. Several U.S. carriers have already warned employees that their positions could be in jeopardy when the mandate of no furloughs expires on March 31.
The Hill noted that the funds for airlines are part of a larger transportation proposal put forth by Democrats. A measure from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee includes $50 billion for a disaster relief fund, $30 billion for transit agencies, $8 billion for airports, $3 billion for aerospace manufacturing and $1.5 billion for Amtrak.
“This plan can make a real difference to people’s lives. Amtrak will be able to recall workers and restore long-distance service. Small and minority-owned businesses will be able to keep the lights on at airports around the country. Tens of thousands of airline workers won’t fear losing their paycheck and benefits in a matter of weeks,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in a statement. “Buses and trains can keep running and operators will be protected with [personal protective equipment]. We can replenish our nation’s Disaster Relief Fund — the list goes on.”