Republicans in the House of Representatives have blocked a stand-alone bill that would have granted immediate relief to airlines by extending payroll support for six additional months.
Stand-Alone Bill To Extend Airline Relief Blocked By House Republicans
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) took to the House floor in disgust Friday afternoon after failing to pass a stand-alone bill to extend airline payroll support and prevent furloughs. DeFazio requested unanimous consent to pass the bill, a parliamentary maneuver in which an item moves forward (here, a bill passes) if no members present object. Republicans objected. From his lectern on the House floor, DeFazio angrily stated:
“The Republican minority killed this legislation, plain and simple. If they had just agreed, tens of thousands of workers for the airlines — flight attendants, they don’t get paid a heck of a lot of money, pilots, yeah they do well, mechanics, gate agents — tens of thousands of those people have been furloughed as of yesterday.
“They’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost their health care, some of them are going to lose their homes. They don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet, feed their kids or do anything else, all because the Republicans in the House of Representatives would not agree and the Republicans in the Senate will not agree to a larger package, which contains these provisions. These are vital provisions, they’re time sensitive…
“I’m tired of bureaucracy around here. It’s time to do real things for the American people and this is real, these peoples’ lives are at stake.”
Meanwhile, Republicans accused DeFazio of grandstanding and said that while they supported an extension of payroll support for airlines, they did not support the “incompetent and sloppy process” advocated by DeFazio and other House Democrats.
Meanwhile, airline furloughs will continue despite a plea from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to airlines to be patient.
While Live and Let’s Fly supports airline workers, with a fundamental revolution in travel now taking place that may permanently alter route maps and travel demand, providing more subsidies to airlines while the entire economy is struggling at least merits more discussion. I’ve seen no indication that recovery is right around the corner. Quite the contrary, even a vaccine will not necessarily restore travel to 2019 levels. Translation: I sadly don’t think there will be a need for the number of pilots, flight attendants, and airline workers currently employed for years to come. While I hope I am wrong, I suspect I am right…
Your thoughts on the current stalemate in Congress over extending airline relief?
image: U.S. House of Representatives – AOC (not that AOC, but the Architect of the Capitol)