A JetBlue Airways Corp. airplane taxi alongside the American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and Alaska Airlines Inc. aircraft at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Monday, April 6, 2020.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Airlines' shares fell Thursday after House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said there won't be a standalone bill for additional help to airlines without a major coronavirus stimulus package.
Pelosi's comments come two days after President Donald Trump suspended talks on a national coronavirus package until after the election, but urged additional help to the ailing aviation sector.
Airlines started taking more than 33,000 workers off leave last week. The air carriers agreed not to cut any workforce until October 1, the equivalent of a $ 2.2 trillion Congress approved under the CARES Act in March.
The funds should help airlines cope with a fall in demand, but there has not been a significant increase in demand for air travel. Airlines and unions have urged lawmakers and the Trump administration to approve an additional $ 25 billion to keep jobs through March 2021.
The proposal had received bipartisan support, but lawmakers and the Trump administration had repeatedly failed to reach an agreement on further coronavirus aid.
Airlines' shares rose earlier in the day in hopes that Congress could push ahead with self-help to the sector.
American Airlines shares were down 1.3% and United Airlines shares were down 0.3%. Southwest Airlines 'shares were down 0.5% while Delta Air Lines' shares were down 0.2% from the daily high.
At the end of their press conference on Thursday, Pelosi suggested that the White House and Democrats could renew talks on a wider aid package.
"We are at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We have made some progress, we are exchanging languages," said the spokesman.
Earlier in the day, Trump claimed his administration and the Democrats had resumed talks on a "bigger deal" that would look at helping airline payroll and direct payments to Americans. Two days earlier, he abruptly ordered White House advisors to hold off talks with Pelosi until after the November 3 elections, despite the fact that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were working towards a comprehensive economic agreement.
Among the core disputes, Pelosi has called for $ 436 billion to relieve state and local governments in dire straits and reintroduce $ 600 weekly supplementary unemployment insurance, which expired in the summer. The White House has offered $ 250 billion in state and local aid and $ 400 weekly unemployment benefit.
The sides failed to reach an agreement in months of discussions on a fifth pandemic relief package. As the virus continues to spread and the US economy struggles to recover from the outbreak, concerns about greater damage to the health and financial well-being of Americans have grown in the coming months.
Despite the congestion jam in Congress, Pelosi said she was still optimistic about the prospect of reaching a deal.
"I'm hopeful because it has to be done. If the president wants to wait until he wins the election, it could be forever," she said on Thursday.
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