Senate Republicans announced a stimulus bill that would guarantee $150 billion in loans to companies struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, including $58 billion in loans and grants to the U.S. aviation industry.

Lobbyists for international airlines have said $200 billion in government support is needed.

Shares of Boeing jumped 4.6% higher in early trading Friday before leveling off in the early afternoon. Boeing has said it needs $60 billion at least to protect 2.5 million jobs and shore up its position as the country’s biggest exporter.

The company’s stock is down about 32% for the week.

Boeing’s request drew criticism from some lawmakers.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who served as the Trump administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, resigned from Boeing’s board this week.

“I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position,” Haley said, in a letter dated March 16. “The board and executive team are going in a direction I cannot support.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a statement with House Leader Nancy Pelosi, said, “To earn Democratic support in the Congress, any economic stimulus proposal must include new, strong and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers, such as banning the recipient companies from buying back stock, rewarding executives, and laying off workers.”

“We are not bailing out the airlines or other industries — period,” Richard Shelby, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday. “Instead, we are allowing the Treasury Secretary to make or guarantee collateralized loans to industries whose operations the coronavirus outbreak has jeopardized.”

DoubleLine chief executive officer Jeffrey Gundlach, in a tweet, said the airline industry has bought back $45.5 billion of its own shares over the last ten years. “The airline industry is in essence asking the government to buy the bought back shares at a 10% profit!”

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3 responses to “Senate Floats Airline Stimulus Amid Criticism”

  1. Chuck Schumer made the statement that would restrict corporations who receive financial help from the feds from using the funds in the future to buy back stock. What does that mean? Would it mean that a corporation which receives even $1 would be restricted until they pay it back? The proper rule should be that no matter how much a corporation receives from the government they should be subject to a10 year restriction on stock repurchases after they have fully paid back the loans. Also, if they were to get a gift from the feds then they would should have to issue common stock equal to one share per dollar received from the feds. The feds could then hold on to this stock for as long as they like and would eventually sell it off where they could make some real money.

  2. There Should Be NO HANDOUTS to large corporations only loans with no loopholes.
    Quit giving money to make the rich get richer, no stock buybacks and executive pay.
    Start helping people who need it, like workers pay if there laid off because of the virus.

  3. The Airline industry needs help now! They employ thousands of hard working, dedicated people. Pilots have spent years of hard work and expense to become commercial pilots. Pilots are faced with being liable for peoples lives every day. Pilots have very stressful jobs and safety of their passengers are their priority. Shame on any government officials that don’t help these pilots that have spent so much of their lives in training. HELP ALL THE US Airlines! Pilots are counting on the government to step up and help.

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