Democrats Urge Mnuchin to Avoid ‘Unreasonable’ Terms on Airlines

April 6, 2020by Billy House, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged the Treasury Department to move more quickly to help airlines to save industry jobs and refrain from imposing “unreasonable conditions” that might spur some carriers to decline payroll assistance.

In a letter Sunday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi and Schumer stressed that provisions of the $2.2 trillion stimulus passed by Congress were aimed specifically at bolstering aviation jobs. The lawmakers expressed concern that guidelines released by the department a week ago didn’t go far enough to safeguard workers.

“We are concerned that Treasury Department’s recent guidance on the ‘Airline Industry Payroll Support’ Program does not fully reflect the intent of Congress,” they wrote in the letter, which also was signed by House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio and Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee.

Pelosi and DeFazio have previously said that demands for airline equity stakes in exchange for the $25 billion in grants designed to save jobs are onerous and could prompt carriers to decline the help. The industry faces steep declines in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Treasury on March 30 released guidelines for how airlines could apply for grants and loans, but stopped short of saying what the minimum stakes would be. It said airlines would be required to propose upfront how the government could retain stakes in their companies, possibly with stock, options or warrants.

Pelosi, Schumer and the others said that some airlines might choose bankruptcy instead of taking payroll grants if the terms are too tough. Similar concerns have been raised by a regional airlines trade group and flight-attendant unions.

“While we appreciate the Department’s desire to seek ‘warrants’ in exchange for payroll assistance, we do not support any effort that would undermine the ability of any aviation worker to receive direct payroll assistance,” the four lawmakers said in their letter.

The stimulus package included provisions for grants of $25 billion to passenger carriers, $4 billion for air-cargo haulers and $3 billion for contractors such as meal providers. They were designed to limit layoffs, and businesses that accepted them had to agree not to cut pay or trim staff through September. The Treasury was authorized to receive “financial instruments” such as equity in exchange.

———

©2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Economy

Pfizer Study Suggests Vaccine Works Against Virus Variant
Health
Pfizer Study Suggests Vaccine Works Against Virus Variant

New research suggests that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in two easier-to-spread variants of the coronavirus that erupted in Britain and South Africa. Those variants are causing global concern. They carry multiple mutations but share one in common that's believed to be... Read More

Governors Scramble to Speed Vaccine Effort After Slow Start
Health
Governors Scramble to Speed Vaccine Effort After Slow Start

New York’s governor threatened to fine hospitals if they don't use their allotment of COVID-19 vaccine fast enough. His South Carolina counterpart warned health care workers they have until Jan. 15 to get a shot or move to the back of the line. California’s governor wants... Read More

Pandemic Haunts New Year as Virus Growth Outpaces Vaccines
Economy
Pandemic Haunts New Year as Virus Growth Outpaces Vaccines

LONDON (AP) — Despite growing vaccine access, January is looking grim around the globe as the coronavirus resurges and reshapes itself from Britain to Japan to California, filling hospitals and threatening livelihoods anew as governments lock down businesses and race to find solutions. England headed back... Read More

Northam Commits Additional $20 Million to Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund
State News
Northam Commits Additional $20 Million to Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund
January 4, 2021
by Sean Trambley

RICHMOND, Va. – This week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam allocated an additional $20 million in federal CARES Act funding to the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund to meet demand for the program and fulfill pending grant applications.  This new funding will bring the program total to... Read More

House Legislation Provides Rental Assistance to Families in Response to Recessions and Natural Disasters
Economy
House Legislation Provides Rental Assistance to Families in Response to Recessions and Natural Disasters
January 4, 2021
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – This week, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., introduced the Crisis Housing Act establishing a new automatic housing assistance program to provide emergency rental assistance vouchers to households during natural disasters or economic recessions.  “When responding to an unforeseen disaster like a pandemic, hurricane, or economic... Read More

US Expected to Miss Goal of Vaccinating 20 Million Against COVID-19 by Year End
Health
US Expected to Miss Goal of Vaccinating 20 Million Against COVID-19 by Year End

The U.S. goal of getting initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to 20 million Americans by year’s end was looking like a long shot Tuesday. The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initially promised to unleash a vast stockpile of 300 million vaccine doses by January but later slashed... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top