Business leaders welcomed news that Congress approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package, with American Airlines cancelling furloughs, though a lobby group of large US employers stressed the need for bipartisan action in the future.
American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said the 13,000 employees who received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices could “tear them up”. In an Instagram video he said that once the bill is signed into law there would be no furloughs at the carrier in April “and with vaccinations on the rise, hopefully never again.”
Parker said additional funding for the airline payroll support programme would provide job protection for US workers until September 30 and urged employees to thank Congressional representatives if they were to see them on a flight.
The Business Roundtable, Washington’s leading big-business lobby group, said while it had urged a more targeted approach, the aid will “help deliver urgent resources” to strengthen the public health response and support individuals and small businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.
However, the legislation did not receive bipartisan support, and the lobby group urged a more bipartisan approach to future policies — like the infrastructure bill Biden will turn to next — for a “stronger and more durable economic recovery.”
New York, which was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic, should receive $100bn from this deal. That would allow it to maintain essential services, the Partnership for New York City, a business group that represents some of the city’s largest employers, said.
“The business community is committed to ensuring that these federal funds will leverage additional private investment that will be required to restore more than 850,000 jobs and thousands of small businesses that the city and state have lost to the pandemic,” chief executive Kathryn Wylde said.
Small-business advocacy group Main Street Alliance said the plan would provide relief for small businesses as well as their customers. “We must now begin the work to get us beyond triage into rebuilding a more resilient and sustainable economy,” Didier Trinh, government affairs director for Main Street Alliance, said.