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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uncle Sam today will become Corporate America's lender of last resort, but it's still unclear if it also will become its activist shareholder.

Driving the news: We're still awaiting full text of the bipartisan deal struck last night between the White House and Senate leaders, including if there will be any straight equity or warrants tied to financial help for affected industries and companies.

  • Airlines and big companies like Boeing have fought hard against such a move, arguing that interest payments would be adequate financial upside for taxpayers.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, a former private equity executive, yesterday told Fox Business that his company would refuse government assistance if it came with equity strings attached: "If they force it we just look at all the other options, and we’ve got plenty of them."

  • Boeing declined to tell Axios what any of those other options were. Weird, since there are "plenty" of them. It also couldn't reconcile the existence of such options with Calhoun claiming the government needs to support credit markets.

Ben Baldanza, former Spirit Airlines CEO and current JetBlue director, yesterday rejected proposals for Treasury taking equity in airlines during a CNBC interview, but repeatedly dodged when asked why.

  • We do know there will be stock buyback and CEO bonus prohibitions on the airline package. Plus added oversight, transparency, and worker protection provisions.

The bottom line: Corporate America is right that it didn't directly cause this problem, as Wall Street caused the 2008 crisis, so there is no need to be punitive. But neither did taxpayers, and they're the ones footing the bill after years of corporate stock buybacks and mediocre wage increases. It will be interesting to see where the Senate sided.

Go deeper

Ex-Theranos CEO describes alleged abuse by former boyfriend and company exec

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

On her fourth day of trial testimony, ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes described her 10-year romantic relationship with former president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani as controlling, and said he would sometimes "force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to."

Why it matters: While Balwani has also been similarly charged with fraud, the two are being tried separately, in part because some of Holmes' defense hinges on blaming him.

Amazon ordered to redo union vote in Alabama

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official on Monday called for a re-vote in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

Why it matters: The move could set the stage for another organizing drive at the e-commerce giant, which has, so far, fought off unionizing efforts in the U.S.

Pentagon to probe 2019 Syria strike after reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 20. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike that killed around 80 people, including dozens of women and children in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the Times reported this month that the Pentagon attempted to keep the strike and casualties under wraps, failing to investigate the decision behind it even after questions were raised internally.

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