Pelosi says there will be no stand-alone aid for airlines without bigger stimulus bill

Pelosi says there will be no stand-alone aid for airlines without bigger stimulus bill

A JetBlue Airways Corp. plane taxis next to American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and Alaska Airlines Inc. aircraft at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, April 6, 2020.Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesAirline stocks fell Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there won’t be a stand-alone bill for additional aid for carriers without a larger coronavirus stimulus package.Pelosi’s comments come two days after President Donald Trump halted talks for a national coronavirus package until after the election, but urged additional aid for the ailing airline sector.Airlines last week started furloughing more than 33,000 workers. Carriers agreed not to cut any workers until Oct. 1 under the terms of $25 billion in support Congress approved in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March.The funds were meant to help airlines manage a dip in demand but a significant rebound in air travel demand has failed to materialize. Airlines and labor unions have been urging lawmakers and the Trump administration to approve $25 billion more to preserve jobs through March 2021.The proposal had won bipartisan support but lawmakers and the Trump administration had repeatedly failed to reach deals on further coronavirus aid.Airline shares were up earlier in the day on hopes that Congress could advance stand-alone aid for the sector.American Airlines’ shares were down 1.3% and United Airlines’ were off 0.3%. Southwest Airlines shares were down 0.5% while Delta Air Lines’ were off the day’s highs, up 0.2%.At the end of her Thursday news conference, Pelosi suggested the White House and Democrats could renew talks toward a broader aid package. “We’re at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We’ve made some progress, we’re exchanging language,” the speaker said. Earlier in the day, Trump claimed his administration and Democrats restarted talks toward a “bigger deal” that would address aid for airline payrolls and direct payments to Americans. Two days earlier, he abruptly ordered White House advisors to back out of talks with Pelosi until after the Nov. 3 election, even as she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worked toward striking a broad stimulus agreement.Among the core disputes, Pelosi has pushed for $436 billion in relief for cash-strapped state and local governments and reinstating the $600 per week supplement unemployment insurance that expired during the summer. The White House has offered $250 billion in state and municipal aid and a $400 enhanced weekly jobless benefit.The sides have failed to strike a deal on a fifth pandemic relief package during months of on-again, off-again discussions. As the virus continues to spread and the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the outbreak, concerns have grown about more damage to Americans’ health and financial well-being in the coming months.Despite the logjam in Congress, Pelosi said she is still optimistic about the prospects of reaching a deal.”I’m hopeful, because it has to be done. If the president wants to wait until he wins the election, that might be an eternity,” she said Thursday.This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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