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Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

American Airlines and United Airlines said they will begin furloughing 32,000 employees Thursday, as federal aid that propped up the industry during the pandemic expires, with no deal in sight for an extension.

Why it matters: As many as 50,000 workers across the industry face immediate job losses unless lawmakers and the White House can agree on a broader pandemic-relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines.

Where it stands: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called off Wednesday night's scheduled vote on a $2.2 trillion relief package, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told airline executives the two sides were still trying to negotiate a bipartisan deal.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Democrats' proposal "outlandish."

What they're saying: CEOs of both airlines said they would reverse furloughs and recall employees if Washington comes up with a deal for $25 billion in airline aid "over the next few days."

  • “It shouldn’t be this hard to do the right thing," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, noting there has long been bipartisan support for extending the payroll support program for the airline industry.
  • "It seems Washington just woke up to this deadline. There is now real momentum to negotiate a COVID relief bill, including an extension of our Payroll Support Program."
  • Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, said he was hopeful, but not confident, a deal could be reached.

Go deeper

Schumer: First priority in new Senate is $2,000 stimulus checks

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) talks with reporters in the Capitol on Jan. 3. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that one of his first priorities in the 117th Senate will be to pass legislation that would send $2000 stimulus payments.

Why it matters: If Jon Ossoff holds his lead over former Sen. Perdue, Schumer is set to become the next majority leader with the power to steer legislation. The election has not yet been called.

Why the decline of business travel matters

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gone are the days of jet-setting for work. Even as we return to offices, the pandemic's effect on business travel will likely last.

Why it matters: The fate of business travel has big ramifications for the economy at large. Its decline could cost millions of jobs, shutter even more small businesses and make your next vacation more expensive.

Big Tech lobbies hard against looming antitrust bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech CEOs, including Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai, have been jawboning lawmakers as a Senate committee takes up a key antitrust bill Thursday.

Why it matters: The bill prompting this lobbying frenzy could upend how tech's giants do business, and tech's critics see this as a "now or never" moment for Congress to check the industry's power.