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As if billions of dollars lost and tens of thousands of employees already laid off wasn't enough, perhaps the first furloughs in the history of Southwest Airlines will be the catalyst for Congress to finally pass a second stimulus package.
That's the thought process of some after Southwest startled the industry by saying it plans to furlough nearly 7,000 employees due to the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. In its 53-year history - through the fuel crisis of the early 1970s, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the economic meltdown from the 2007 housing collapse and more - Southwest has never had to resort to letting employees go.
Now, even though American and United airlines have already furloughed a combined 32,000 workers, stakeholders appear more shaken by the prospect of Southwest having to resort to layoffs to the point where Congress is looking to extend government funding for an additional week while lawmakers try to put together spending and coronavirus relief packages, according to CNBC.
The House plans to vote Wednesday on the short-term measure to keep the government running through Dec. 18, Republican and Democratic leaders both said.
The decision to buy more time comes as lawmakers rush to reach an agreement both on a broad appropriations plan and a package to boost the health-care system and economy as a sustained COVID-19 infection surge stresses hospitals across the country. Congressional leaders previously signaled they wanted to tie aid provisions to a funding proposal, CNBC said.
There is a deal on the table, or at least a proposal. A bipartisan group in the Senate led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), introduced a $908 billion proposal for a second round of stimulus. That would include $17 billion for the airline industry.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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