Treasury Department Says Large Airlines Must Pay Back Taxpayers

The U.S. Treasury Dept. is telling larger airlines that if they take more than $100 million in payroll grants, as part of the CARES Act stimulus package to fight the coronavirus signed last month by President Trump, they will have to compensate American taxpayers.

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The Treasury Dept. on Friday said it would not require applicants seeking $100 million or less to provide compensation, according to CNBC, but it did have 12 passenger airlines whose allocations would be greater than that amount. Officials have said the compensation could include stock warrants and or other financial instruments.

Complicating matters, however, is that despite Congressional approval for $58 billion in aid to the airlines, including $25 billion in grants for passenger airlines and $4 billion for cargo carriers, a final deal has not been struck.

CNBC noted that initial payments to airlines that applied for aid were supposed to go out on April 6, but the Treasury Department requested additional financial information from airlines, according to people familiar with the discussions.

“Congress acted two weeks ago. That’s a pay period,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents some 50,000 cabin crew members, tweeted at Secretary Mnuchin on Friday. “Cut the checks.”

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