- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2020

Two Republican senators rejected the latest negotiations for a stand-alone airline relief bill Thursday morning.

Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mike Lee of Utah argued that doing another massive relief bill for the airline industry was unsustainable for taxpayers.

“For the past six months, the American taxpayers have spent $25 billion covering the payroll obligations of passenger airlines. No other Fortune 500 companies – including restaurant groups, transportation firms, hotel chains, or entertainment businesses — have received taxpayer-funded grants,” they wrote. “No one wants to see layoffs, but we have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer resources are used in an appropriate and equitable manner.

“Consideration of legislation providing grants to the airlines should not happen unless there are adequate protections for taxpayers and the opportunity to offer related amendments,” they added.

Mr. Toomey and Mr. Lee argued that instead of grants, airlines should look to the federal loans provided by the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal Congress passed in March. That bill provided about $29 billion aside for passenger and cargo airlines.

Their comments come as Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have floated potentially putting a stand-alone airline relief legislation as thousands of airline workers faced layoffs that began last week.

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