With at least 2-3 COVID-19 vaccines getting ready to ship once they receive FDA approval, and with more vaccines soon to follow suit, Texas Senator John Cornyn (R) is calling for the U.S. Congress to extend the Payroll Support Program to air freight companies and the commercial airline industry so that they can have the funds in place to be able to make the payroll necessary to help distribute the vaccines.
“The aviation industry has suffered immensely due to lower travel demand during the pandemic, and unfortunate but necessary cost-cutting measures taken by the airlines mean they don’t currently have the infrastructure or manpower to distribute vaccines quickly across the nation,” said Sen. Cornyn in a press release. “Particularly for rural and small-town Texans, we need to strengthen the distribution system now so that when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, we’re ready to send lifelines to as many Texans as possible. This is about more than saving jobs, it’s about saving lives.”
Texas is home-base to the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, so Sen. Cornyn’s efforts to help fund the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are welcomed by the tens of thousands of American employees that have felt the negative economic impact brought on by the pandemic.
American Airlines, like the other major U.S. airlines, has seen an uptick in travel and freight business even as cases of COVID have spiked, and as the threat of another nationwide shutdown looms under a Biden administration.
Earlier this year, Cornyn cosponsored the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act, that if signed into law, would keep airline employees on the payroll during the COVID crisis, and would assist with paying for workers’ wages and benefits.
Members of Congress have been hard-pressed to find any middle ground in coming up with a bipartisan COVID stimulus bill that President Donald Trump could sign into law.