Pelosi rejects stand-alone airline relief bill without bigger coronavirus aid deal

'There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill,' Pelosi said

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ruled out a stand-alone bill for additional airline relief without a broader coronavirus relief package.

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"I have been open to having a stand-alone bill for airlines," Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. "But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill. Why should we do one not the other? The comment that I made to the administration was: We're happy to review what that standalone bill would like as part of a bigger bill, if there is a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill."

TRUMP LASHES OUT AT 'HEARTLESS' DEMS OVER STALLED-OUT VIRUS RELIEF

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.12.93+0.18+1.41%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.33.09+1.58+5.03%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.36.85+1.31+3.67%

Pelosi spoke twice with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday about potential aid for the virus-battered industry and was expected to do so again on Thursday, according to her spokesperson.

The California Democrat's comments are the latest twist in a series of back-and-forths this week on another round of emergency relief for American workers and businesses still reeling from the pandemic and subsequent economic recession.

TRUMP REJECTS DEMS' CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PROPOSAL, CALLS OFF NEGOTIATIONS 'UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION'

On Tuesday, President Trump abruptly tweeted that he was breaking off negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election. Hours later, he began a push to pass individual relief bills, including aid for airlines and small businesses and a second round of direct checks to many U.S. families.

But on Thursday, he appeared to reverse course, saying the two sides are "starting to have very productive talks" on a more comprehensive deal.

“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they‘re starting to work out,” Trump told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo. “We’re talking about airlines, and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines."

U.S. airlines began cutting 35,000 jobs last week following the expiration of a $25 billion bailout fund that was created earlier this year as part of the CARES Act. Under the terms of the agreement, airlines were prohibited from cutting jobs or reducing workers' pay through Sept. 30.

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In a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, airline labor and industry groups urged them to pass legislation that would provide them with another $25 billion in direct payroll grants, allowing them to continue paying employees through March.

"Several U.S. airlines had no choice but to move forward with tens of thousands of furloughs last week, and many more job losses are expected across the industry in the weeks ahead if the PSP is not extended," the groups wrote.

While air travel has mounted a tepid recovery since the height of the crisis, when it plunged 95%, air travel remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Lawmakers are working on an increasingly tight deadline as they prepare to leave Washington to campaign ahead of the election.

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