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Government Aid to Airlines Not Secured

Mass airline employee layoffs looming?

Airlines and airline employees are hoping for fast government aid as a result of the COVID-19 situation before hundreds of thousands of airline jobs are lost. A key procedural vote on the stimulus package has just failed. Alex Martinez Rivera explains:

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with the airlines and supporting industries. The government is trying to work out a government aid package.

government aid airlines COVID-19, excerpt from washington post
Excerpt from Washington Post.

However, I think it could fall apart easily. Here’s what Captain Jetson has been able to confirm.

Airlines For America (A4A) asking for $50 Billion

The papers seen earlier in the week tell the story that the trade group and the White House are in lockstep. However, the logjam seems to be at the U.S. Congress:

Heather Long, Washington Post Economic Correspondent. Twitter.

Most likely it has suffered changes in Congress.

Meanwhile, the President has already sent a signal that there would not be dividends, stock buybacks, and Executive Compensation.

Government Guidelines: The Presidents Speaks, Boeing Follows

While the final numbers are determined in U.S. Congress. The President’s remarks were clear in terms of Conditions for Government Aid.

  • Executive Compensation? NO
  • Dividends? NO
  • Stock Buybacks? Definitely NO
President Trump’s answer to the question on the conditions for government aid at Thursday’s Press Conference. CNBC/YouTube.

The first company to follow the government guidelines was Boeing. As a way to extend an olive branch to the government. However, what is going on with the logjam? It is time to put our policy and political hats aside, because it is about jockeying for position.

Yes, it is that pathetic.

Logjam seems to be with the Democrats and the Speaker Nancy Pelosi

While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with the tourism industry which includes the airlines the Speaker of the House of Representatives seems to be endangering the industry as a whole so that more people can benefit from government aid.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Picture: Twitter.

I personally cannot blame her. However, toying with an industry that brings more to the government coffers in revenue to supporting industries seems to be foolish and foolhardy.

U.S. House & Senate Members on the Committee on Small Business unite to create the Gang of Four

While Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Speaker of the House delay things until they get a better hand on things the COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc to industries left and right.

The House & Senate Small Business Committees have formed an unlikely alliance mirroring from the famously Gang of Eight on the Select Intelligence Committee.

The Gang of Four is a smaller, nimble and well executioner machine comprise of the following Senators:

  • Chairman of the Committee Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
  • Ranking Member of the Committee Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).
  • House Representative Chairwoman of the Committee Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).
  • Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) (She isn’t part of the Small Business but she has contributed to help in these efforts).

They have FastTracked the bill for consideration in the Senate. Usually, since the House has the purse they make all appropriations bills as placed under the U.S. Constitution.

However, because of the House disagreements as mentioned above, the Senate will go voting as soon as this week. While there is a procedural vote later today all sources indicate it is a green light in the Senate.

Senator Rand Paul

In a Breaking News Story, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), becomes the first U.S. Senator to contract COVID-19. Other Senators in isolation through their participation in the Conservative Political Action Conference and interactions with people include:

  • Mike Lee (R-UT)\
  • Mitt Romney (R-UT)
  • Ted Cruz (R-TX)
  • Rick Scott (R-FL)
  • Cory Gardner (R-CO)

This makes the majority GOP-Senate into a Democrat-Senate at least temporarily as these 6 senators are in quarantine. It makes the body from 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats into 48 Republicans and 45 Democrats. Unfortunately, the vote was tied at 47-47 having no clear majority.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reacts to Senate Democrats vote against the COVID-19 relief bill. Courtesy: Mitch McConnell/YouTube

The Vice President can only vote when the vote is tied

However, Vice President Pence wasn’t informed!

According to Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution explains: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote unless they are equally divided.”

Vice-President Mike Pence was with the President in today’s COVID-19 Press Conference but wasn’t informed of the setback.

Government aid (including to the airlines) would have passed if Pence was informed earlier!

The House wants to do its own thing

Whether this goes to reconciliation or takes the shape of another bill the House will most likely do its own thing. The House risks getting the industry of tourism and airlines affected by not taking the Senate bill.

The $500 billion economic aid program set up by the U.S. Treasury for House Democrats is the sticking point.

House Democrats want more in terms of aid to the people, and less on corporations. The Senate, the White House, U.S. Treasury are trying to negotiate but with six senators in quarantine, there is not much they can do.

Meanwhile, the airlines and supporting industries are in limbo.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is testing centuries of traditions

The United States Congress voting rules state that under no circumstances can there be remote voting.

With a Senator and several Representatives absent with COVID-19, the economic aid package by the government would have to wait.

Both Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi individually has shot down the proposals in their chambers.

Bottom Line: Airlines need to wait longer

With 6 Senators under quarantine and failing to close arguments in the Senate, there is no way they would comply with the President’s deadline for tomorrow.

There isn’t a scenario in which a democrat switches sides. The Vice President is the Head of the COVID-19 Task Force, so he is busy.

Immediate COVID-19 government aid for the airlines?

I don’t see the economic package until the early-mid of April, the damage to the airlines is already done. We are going to see furloughs and voluntary packages from the airlines just to stay afloat. I’m already hearing those proposals from several airlines.

In the worst-case scenario, the House doesn’t take the Senate bill and the Senate doesn’t do reconciliation and vice-versa. All while the industry continues on its way to ruin.

Unless there is a break in the logjam, April sounds a better timeline for the airlines.

I wish I could give you better news, but I prefer to give you the truth.

As the race to reach a stimulus agreement continues, the future of the airlines and its employees are in grave peril. What do you think about government aid for the airlines, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? You can contact Alex Martinez Rivera here.

Featured Image: Unsplash.

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