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Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday it has closed loans with seven major airlines, and Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress to extend additional aid to the industry to help airlines weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of workers face layoffs starting Thursday, when an existing federal payroll support program expires. While Democrats and Republicans have voiced support for helping the airline industry, they've been deadlocked in negotiations on a broader package of economic relief.

Details: Congress in March approved $25 billion in federal loans for the industry, which has suffered a 70% drop in air travel because of the pandemic.

  • Because Delta and Southwest opted to tap private markets instead, the Treasury Department said it will make larger loans than expected to some carriers — up to $7.5 billion each.
  • The seven air carriers that accepted taxpayer loans are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and United Airlines. 
  • In return, the Treasury received equity warrants in each airline.

Go deeper

Congress releases text of $900 billion coronavirus relief bill

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

The House on Monday released the text of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package and $1.4 trillion government spending bill that Congress expects to pass before the holidays.

The state of play: The House will move quickly to pass the bill on Monday night, with the Senate likely to stay late to vote in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This gives lawmakers and their staff just hours to review a 5,593-page bill — one of the largest rescue packages in U.S. history.

Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Health

Trump asks Congress to increase stimulus payments

A screenshot of President Trump making the announcement. Photo: President Trump/Twitter

President Trump indicated in a video Tuesday evening that he won't sign the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and $1.4 trillion government funding measure passed by Congress if it's not amended to increase stimulus payments.

Why it matters: The surprise announcement could delay desperately needed aid for millions of Americans if Trump decides not to sign the package as it stands. It also risks a government shutdown on Dec. 28.

Sen. Wyden: Dozens of Treasury email accounts breached in SolarWinds hack

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty

Hackers who infiltrated government networks in the SolarWinds cyberattack compromised "dozens of email accounts" in the Treasury, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Monday.

Why it matters: The monthslong cyberattack impacted a range of companies and government agencies and has prompted outrage in Washington D.C. as officials try to get to the bottom of what happened. The Treasury has not yet been able to ascertain what information, if any, was stolen, per Wyden.