Rep. Payne, Jr. Asks President Trump to Support More Aid for Airline Workers
Media Contact: Patrick Wright -- Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. wrote a letter to President Trump today to ask him to extend the Payroll Support Program and provide desperately-needed aid to the country’s airline industry. The extension would help keep the estimated 750,000 airline workers employed during the coronavirus public health crisis. The program expired in September and airline executives have begun to layoff and furlough tens of thousands of workers since that time.
“It is critical that Congress support our airline workers while the pandemic is still raging,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. “I am extremely concerned about my constituents who work at Newark Liberty International Airport. They need the additional funding to pay housing costs and feed their families during this difficult and troubling time. I know my colleagues across the country have the same concerns for the airline employees in their districts. President Trump needs to protect these workers before more of them lose their jobs.”
In the letter, Rep. Payne, Jr. said the September deadline was established because experts thought the economic effects of the coronavirus would end before that date. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to ravage the nation and air travel has not fully recovered. In fact, the International Air Transport Association predicted that it would not return to normal until at least 2024. United and American Airlines began to furlough approximately 32,000 airline workers when the program expired and have said more furloughs will occur soon without the extension. The letter was co-signed by Reps. Alma Adams (NC-12), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), and Jackie Speier (CA-14).
The full letter is listed below.
October 9, 2020
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Trump:
We write to urge you to prioritize reauthorizing and extending the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in ongoing negotiations with Congress. The PSP, which kept hundreds of thousands of airline employees from unemployment during these very difficult times, expired at the end of September. Our districts represent some of the busiest passenger airports in the nation, with hundreds of thousands of employees dependent on the aviation industry. Nationwide, there were approximately 750,000 airline employees covered by the PSP that are now at risk of being furloughed or have already been furloughed.
The PSP, which was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, had successfully kept airline employees on payroll until the program expired at the end of September. The CARES Act was signed into law at a time when air travel plunged to historic lows and there was an assumption that air travel would rebound in the months after. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to ravage the nation, and air travel has not fully recovered. In fact, the International Air Transport Association recently predicted that air travel will not return to normal levels until 2024 at the earliest.
Without the PSP, many of the 750,000 airline workers covered by the program are beginning to lose their jobs or be placed on involuntary furlough. As the program expired, United Airlines and American Airlines began to furlough approximately 32,000 airline workers. Our districts are feeling immediate impacts from the expiration of the PSP, and the magnitude of the damage will only increase the longer the PSP remains lapsed. It is critical that we support the men and women of the airline industry while the pandemic is still raging.
Again, we respectfully urge you to prioritize reaching a deal to give airline workers their jobs back. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request.
Donald M. Payne, Jr.
Member of Congress
Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Member of Congress