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Pelosi says no action on airline aid without bigger stimulus

Erik Wasson

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday there could be no action on a stand-alone bill to aid airlines or any other sector of the economy without an agreement with the White House and Republicans on a broader economic stimulus package.

Pelosi’s remarks at a news conference at the Capitol suggested that there would be no quick resolution of the standoff over aid to the U.S. economy even as there are signs the recovery could weaken without further stimulus.

Pelosi said aid for airlines would have to be part of a larger stimulus conversation. She has rebuffed President Donald Trump’s called for Congress to pass relief legislation piecemeal.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., left, listens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.

“They just want money for the president to spend money on who knows what?” Pelosi said. “There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broached the idea of continuing stimulus discussions during a call with Pelosi on Wednesday, one day after Trump announced on Twitter he was ending negotiations, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Trump has since changed course and urged trying for a deal on some individual aid packages. On Thursday he said that talks on an economic stimulus plan are now “starting to work out.”

But Pelosi said Thursday that the country needs a comprehensive plan that would help stem the coronavirus outbreak. She is scheduled to have another round of talks with Mnuchin on Thursday.

A Standard & Poor’s 500 gauge of airline stocks erased gains on the news of Pelosi’s remarks, and broader market indexes retreated from the day’s highs.

Despite Pelosi’s stance, Trump on Thursday claimed that multiple pieces of stimulus, including $1,200 individual checks are on the table.

“We started talking again. And we’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines,” Trump said. “We’re talking about a deal with $1,200 per person, we’re talking about other things.

”Negotiations among House Democrats and the Senate calendar make it unlikely that a stand-alone bill to help airlines – which are already hemorrhaging tens of thousands of jobs – will reach the president’s desk before the end of October.