Wicker, Crapo Request Information on Status of CARES Act Air Transportation Assistance

May 11, 2020

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting information on the implementation of CARES Act assistance for the air transportation industry.

Excerpt from letter:

Ensuring the continued stability of at-risk industries requires close coordination between Congress and the Administration.  To that end, the recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136) provides economic relief to distressed industries affected by the pandemic, and the Department of the Treasury plays a key role in implementing the provisions of that Act.  We request your assistance as we conduct oversight of the implementation of the CARES Act, particularly the provisions that provide economic assistance to the air transportation industry.

In particular, we ask that you provide a detailed report on the status of the Payroll Support Program (PSP), included within Division A, Title IV, Subtitle B of the CARES Act.  The PSP authorizes the Department to provide direct assistance to air carriers and their airport-based contractors to ensure the continued payment of their employees’ wages, salaries, and benefits.  This program was designed to help retain employees of participating air carriers while allowing the carriers to focus their capital on maintaining critical operations.

We also respectfully request information on the current status of the program allowing the Department to provide loans to air carriers, aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul businesses, and airline ticket agents, as authorized under Division A, Title IV, Subtitle A of the CARES Act.  It would be helpful to our oversight function if you could describe any financial assistance provided, as well as the total amount offered to recipients.  Further, we request that you characterize the overall scope of any warrants, equity, or debt instruments the Department of the Treasury utilized for air carriers and other eligible aviation businesses as a condition of agreements executed under Subtitles A and B.  This information will allow us to monitor the allocation of taxpayer funds and the effectiveness of these loans in stabilizing the air transportation industry.

Click here to read the full letter.