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Airlines Shaky After Pelosi Rules Out Standalone Aid Bill

The House speaker says 'there is no stand-alone bill' for airlines without a more comprehensive stimulus package.

Airline stocks were fluctuating Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there would be no a standalone coronavirus aid bill for air carriers.

American Airlines (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report, United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report and Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report were all edging higher after slipping earlier in the trading day.

Pelosi said aid for airlines would have to be part of a larger U.S. stimulus discussion.

“They just want money for the president to spend money on who knows what?” she said during a press conference at the Capitol. “There is no standalone bill without a bigger bill.” 

Pelosi has advocated for $436 billion in relief for cash-strapped state and local governments and reinstating the $600 per week supplement unemployment insurance that expired during the summer. 

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The speaker is scheduled to have another round of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

The White House offered $250 billion in state and municipal aid and a $400 enhanced weekly jobless benefit.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that stimulus talks were showing progress, and could include support beyond the airline sector, which is reportedly in line to receive around $25 billion.

Trump sent shockwaves through the stock market earlier this week when he abruptly told his team to halt negotiations with Democrats on a fiscal stimulus package.

The airline industry had received $25 billion in funding under the CARES Act that was enacted in March but had to promise not to cut jobs until Oct. 1.

Airlines began furloughing 33,000 workers last week. The airlines, however, said they would reverse the cuts if the U.S. government provided the funds the industry needs.