Pelosi's Comments Tease Potential Airline Aid

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that airlines and restaurants both need the kind of financial help that only another stimulus package can give.

While talks in Congress about extending the CARES Act to offer more aid have stalled, Pelosi offered a ray of hope that a deal can be made by Oct. 1, the deadline for when airlines are free from the restriction from the previous government aid package that they could not lay off any employees for six months.

It was a rare acknowledgment of agreement between Democrats and Republicans after Pelosi spoke at a weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol.

“There are more needs that have emerged (since May, when talk first started of an extension of the aid package),” Pelosi said. “The anticipation and hope at that time was that we would engage in crushing the virus. We didn’t. More deaths, more cases, more challenges in terms of jobs, and one of them being with the airlines. There, the bill that was there, the CARES Act, did good things until the end of September. So now that that emerges, again, as a challenge which we had hoped would have been addressed by crushing the virus.”

The White House is on record saying it wants to help the airlines avoid mass layoffs in less than two weeks.

With travel restrictions still in place in many countries, and demand for air travel generally still low, several airlines have said that without more aid they will have to resort to cuts in staff – which, combined, some industry experts say could approach 70,000 employees.

Earlier in the week, a White House spokesman said President Donald Trump would support legislation to give more financial aid to airlines. Pelosi said she also wants to earmark $120 billion in aid to restaurants.

“The restaurants have a big ask, a very big ask – they’ve taken a beating on this. And I think there’s bipartisan interest in helping restaurants,” she said.

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