White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration is considering taking executive action in order to stop airline furloughs from taking place.
Meadows made the comments during a Wednesday “Politico Live” interview.
The Trump administration’s position comes a day after American Airlines announced it would furlough or lay off about 19,000 workers starting in October unless the government provides additional relief funds. According to the pilots’ union, Delta also has plans to furlough about 2,000 pilots on Oct. 1.
Congress has been locked in a stalemate when it comes to passing additional coronavirus relief measures.
“I think everybody every time they hear that we’re going to do executive actions they don’t believe me,” Meadows said. “We’ve got four executive actions that actually the president took, we’re going to take a few others. Because if Congress is not going to work, this president is going to get to work and solve some problems. So hopefully we can help out the airlines and keep some of those employees from being furloughed.”
Meadows didn’t explain how the administration would be able to act to either extend financial aid or prevent furloughs without support or approval from Congress.
Trump previously issued several executive orders to help with people financially suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic. The measures involved unemployment benefits, housing, student loans and payroll taxes.
Airlines were already awarded more than $50 billion in grants and loans from the $2 trillion Cares Act in March. As a condition of $25 billion in grant money they received to aid with payroll, airlines had to agree to keep workers on the job through Sept. 30.
President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson said executive action may not be enough without help from Congress.
“It will definitely take Congress acting to keep all of the job requirements in place,” she tweeted.
“Good to see WH wants to restart talks. Aviation workers are making this REAL & URGENT for the American people. But EOs won’t keep the clean extension of #WorkersFirst PSP. #ReliefNow Congress,” she wrote.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, travel has drastically declined and caused airline revenues to tank.
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