Over the weekend, Democrats in the US Senate blocked a $1.8 trillion economic relief package.
With several Republicans not present including Senator Rand Paul, who revealed on Sunday that he has coronavirus, the vote came to 47 – short of the 60 votes required to proceed. Republicans are hoping for another vote on Monday.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats would put forward their own bill, arguing that the draft package would be too damaging to hospitals, cities, states and medical workers during the pandemic.
The proposed package in the Senate includes around $58 billion for the airline industry and $150 billion for other large “distressed” businesses including hotels.
Both industries are under huge pressure without any financial aid.
The three largest US airlines, American, Delta, and United have asked employees to volunteer for unpaid leave. An open letter by United Airlines told its employees that without immediate support, layoffs were imminent.
American Airlines has cut domestic flights by 30% and international flights by 75% in April, Delta Airlines will cut 70% of its flights, and United Airlines 60%.
Among large hotels, Marriott International and Hilton have furloughed thousands of workers and cut executive pay, and 11 MGM Resorts properties have closed.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association, the US Travel Association and the GBTA, have requested $150 billion in government relief, deeming themselves critical to the government in terms of business and medical value – with many hotels offering up extra beds for hospitals.
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