Meanwhile, the US aviation industry is in crisis. Thousands of vacations and layoffs go into effect Thursday after Congress failed to renew a pandemic relief program for aviation workers. The airlines had agreed to reverse the downsizing if Pelosi and Mnuchin could reach an agreement in the next few days.
“Today I urge airlines to postpone their devastating downsizing as the relief for airline workers moves forward in Congress,” Pelosi wrote on Friday.
The airline aid, which would cost around $ 28 billion, has widespread support from both parties, but failed to win congressional approval amid controversial disputes over coronavirus control. Negotiations between Pelosi and Mnuchin have intensified over the past week, but the two have been in a stalemate for months and remain hundreds of billions of dollars apart in their offers.
In a sign of growing desperation in the industry, a frustrated House Transportation chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Unanimously sought his bill in support of the airline’s payroll on the floor of the house on Friday. But the Republicans rejected the request.
“I’m tired of the bureaucracy here,” DeFazio said on the floor. “It is time to do real things for the American people, and it is real. These people’s lives are at stake.
DeFazio has repeatedly urged airline aid, and even broken with Pelosi to get additional aid bills, even if it doesn’t meet Democratic demands if it means help would come out the door.
Senate leaders had also tried last week to speed up their version of the Standalone Aviation Assistance Act, but those efforts were blocked by objections from at least three Senate Republicans.
“I hear from the aviation industry every day that they need help,” Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) Told reporters at the Capitol on Friday, noting that he hears “a lot of frustration” at home.
“We are responsible for providing additional emergency aid. I don’t even think we’re in the middle of this pandemic, “Brown said.
The status of a comprehensive coronavirus deal between Pelosi and Mnuchin, negotiating on behalf of President Donald Trump, was unclear Friday afternoon when House legislators left Washington for a break in the campaign.
In a letter Friday afternoon, Pelosi was optimistic, telling members, “I hope we can reach an agreement.” She noted that she would expect more details from the White House on her latest offer later on Friday.
Pelosi also suggested on MSNBC that the amazing revelation earlier in the morning that Trump had been diagnosed with coronavirus could postpone relief talks in their favor.
“This kind of change is changing the dynamics because here you see the reality of what we’ve been saying all along – this is a nasty virus,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. “We always have to find a way that we are responsible for and I believe we will.”
Many Democrats who left the Capitol on Friday – especially those faced with a tough re-election race at home – were angry that no agreement had been reached. A group of members, led by the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, began distributing a letter on Friday asking Pelosi to “continue negotiations over the weekend until an agreement is reached”.
Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, tried to reassure members that the House would not be absent for the entire month before the election and that they would return as soon as there was a deal.
“We’re not going to take the break that normally takes place in October,” said Hoyer on Friday on the floor. “As we speak, negotiations are going on. Both here and on the other side of the Capitol … Hopefully these negotiations will bear fruit sooner rather than later. “
Hoyer told members that if there was a deal, they could be called back to Washington with just one day’s notice. The Maryland Democrat also stressed that even if an agreement was reached on Friday, it could take several days for mammoth legislation to be drafted and that a vote was not expected before Wednesday.
But when the legislators of the house left the Capitol, the mood was gloomy. Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus just hours earlier, and several Republicans who had been close to him in the past few days also tested positive. This includes Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who had been voting and holding meetings all week, including with Trump Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett.
Despair spreads outside Washington as layoffs and layoffs hit blue-chip companies like Walt Disney Co. months after the service industry felt the pain.
Airline unions have been tirelessly urging Congress to take action for months after it became clear that corporate fortunes would not turn for the better until an initial round of funding from the CARES bill expired.
“We are about to close our airlines,” said a visibly frustrated MP, Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Thursday evening after rejecting her party’s latest bill.
“We are on the verge that our state and our local communities do not have the resources we need,” she added. “I would be surprised if something is done before the elections and that is a real shame.”
Heather Caygle and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.