Stimulus Checks: How Airline Job Cuts Could Put Pressure on Congress to Take Action

The United States government does not appear to be getting any closer to approving a second stimulus checks plan yet, but it is now being reported that potential airline job cuts could put pressure on congress to take action. According to the New York Times, American Airlines has issued a warning that it will have to cut 19,000 workers on Oct. 1. These cuts will include pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, technicians and other staff.

American’s chief executive — Doug Parker — and president —Robert Isom — issued a joint statement to employees on the matter, and encouraged them to reach out to their state representatives regarding when a new coronavirus relief bill may be finalized. "We must prepare for the possibility that our nation’s leadership will not be able to find a way to further support aviation professionals and the service we provide, especially to smaller communities." Notably, the NY Times reported that flight attendants will be most affected by the cuts, as that role will make up about 40 percent of the cuts.

Following the CARES Act, the House passed the HEROES Act. This would have increased the amount of stimulus payments sent to taxpayers and citizens. Senate Republicans were not pleased with that bill, however, so they drafted their own, titled the HEALS Act. Democrat leaders felt this bill did not provide enough funding for helping Americans, so Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer began negotiation talks with the White House in hopes of reaching a compromise.

These talks stalled, and Senate Republicans began working on a new "skinny" bill that they are potentially planning to propose. Newsweek spoke with experts about the negotioans, and most of them stated that it is actually the Democrats who have the upper hand. "What's their incentive to back down? If Democrats thought they'd be blamed squarely for the deadlock, I think they'd give in or they'd go to the table for something smaller," offered Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. "If you do something smaller, Republicans can say, 'We're done.' And I think Democrats don't want to be in that position."