A couple hundred flight attendants and pilots rallied this week on Capitol Hill and tweeted at lawmakers, asking them for $25 billion in additional federal funds to prevent airline furloughs next month.
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Any chance that Washington will give airlines more money soon hinges on Congress and the White House approving a comprehensive coronavirus-relief package — there won’t be a plan that only helps airlines.
But the prospects for a big deal suffered a blow Thursday, when Senate Democrats blocked a scaled-back Republican plan. While the GOP bill had no money for transportation, its failure could make major coronavirus relief before the November election less likely.
A sharp drop in travel has left the airlines with tens of thousands more employees than they need to operate the vastly reduced number of flights. This spring, the airlines began receiving $25 billion in federal grants and loans to keep workers on their payrolls for six months. With that money ending Sept. 30, the three biggest U.S. carriers are expected to furlough or lay off about 40,000 workers starting Oct. 1.
Some Republican senators say airlines have been helped enough by taxpayers.
Rick Scott of Florida told airline union members he opposed “bailing out airlines and other large corporations.” He added, “It’s unfortunate that any airline would furlough thousands of employees after