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Sen. Romney calls for vote on bill to prevent mass layoffs for airline workers

FILE - In this June 9, 2020, file photo, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to reporters as he arrives for the weekly Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington. Romney is calling on the Senate to vote on a bill that would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is calling on the Senate to vote on a bill that would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 2021, preventing mass layoffs.

The bill, called “Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020,” would provide $28 billion in assistance to different air carriers, including passenger airlines, cargo air carriers and airline contractors.

If passed, the legislation would also include taxpayer protections already included in the CARES Act. 

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salt Lake City airport was booming, experiencing record growth in passengers,” Romney said in a news release. “Through the CARES Act, Congress provided assistance to counter the devastating toll the pandemic took on our airport and the entire airline industry. However, additional relief is necessary as more than 80,000 pilots, flight attendants, and other airline workers face furloughs amidst the ongoing pandemic.”

 

The air carrier bill would be separate from protections under the CARES Act, aligning airline payroll protections to smaller air carriers to match the standards and criteria applied to larger ones.

Additionally, it would allow air carriers to request payroll support in a different time window. That way, airlines that added jobs or increased wages after the CARES Act was passed will still receive an “equitable amount of payroll support.” 

“Our legislation would extend critical support to ensure that employees continue receiving paychecks and potentially avoid negative operational impacts on SLC Airport,” Romney said about the bill. “I will also continue to push for a relief package which includes provisions to secure federal unemployment benefits, restart the Paycheck Protection Program, help parents with the expenses of childcare and homeschooling, and help our schools keep kids safe.”

Romney joins Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing this legislation.