Pelosi rules out standalone airline bill without comprehensive COVID relief package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she would not agree to a standalone bill to assist the airline industry without a broader relief package that addresses public health, unemployment, and aid for state and local governments.

Why it matters: Despite Trump formally ending bipartisan negotiations for stimulus legislation via tweet on Tuesday, the president and his White House representatives were still hoping for a standalone airline bailout.

  • Mnuchin discussed such a bill and other piecemeal measures with Pelosi Wednesday morning, but Pelosi was adamant in saying Democrats won't play ball unless the White House agrees to deliver more comprehensive relief.
  • The airline industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and mass layoffs began last week.

Between the lines: Even if the White House agrees to more comprehensive legislation, it's unclear how much support the package would have among Senate Republicans. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued a statement on Thursday expressing concern about using taxpayer funds to bail out the airline industry.

What she's saying: "I have been very open to having a standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill. But there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill. There is no bill," Pelosi told reporters at a briefing Thursday.

  • "If we don't have a guarantee that we're going to be helping our state and local employees, that we're not going be able to crush the virus, that we're not going to be able to have our children go to school safely, that we're not going to have safety in the workplace, that we're not going to address unemployment — and some of these issues we have come to some area of agreement," she continued.
  • "But some of them we have not. But they have walked away from the whole package. They have walked away from the whole package."

Go deeper: Why Trump dumped stimulus negotiations

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