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Rep. Estes, Larsen Introduce Legislation to Protect Aerospace Supply Chain Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Ron Estes (KS-04) and Rick Larsen (WA-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to help prevent aerospace supply chain furloughs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act of 2020 establishes a temporary relief program to provide up to 50 percent cost-share to help cover costs of pay and benefits for employees at risk of being furloughed due to the pandemic. The bill includes critical oversight provisions to protect American jobs, boost labor protections and prevent use of relief funding for stock buybacks or to pay dividends.

“In the Pacific Northwest, the highly skilled aviation manufacturing and maintenance workforce drives the economy and helps the U.S. remain competitive abroad,” said Larsen, Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee. “This bipartisan bill provides critical relief to help sustain the aerospace supply chain until the nation gets to the other side of the pandemic. I am committed to protecting these jobs and supporting the dedicated women and men who keep the supply chain moving during such challenging times.”

"Kansans have built general aviation and commercial airplanes for a century, helping us become the Air Capital of the World. However, recent groundings and the negative effects of COVID-19 have slowed production rates to record lows, putting thousands of Kansans out of work and jeopardizing our local companies' stability," said Estes. "The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act will help keep workers on the payroll and connected with their aviation jobs, which solves the short-term unemployment issue and keeps our skilled workforce here in the Sunflower State for the long term. As aviation manufacturing ramps back up, these employees will benefit from maintaining a connection with their employer and be able to rejoin the workforce easily."

More than 136,000 highly-skilled aerospace workers and more than 1,400 aerospace-related companies support Washington state’s aerospace supply chain and the regional economy. Several supply chain stakeholders voiced their support for the bill.

“We applaud Reps. Larsen and Estes for introducing this innovative payroll support legislation,” said Robert Martinez Jr., International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “Saving this critical industry and the livelihoods of the men and women who have made the aerospace sector thrive for generations is our top legislative priority. The federal funding authorized by this bill will be used for the sole purpose of keeping working families on the job and off of unemployment. As the largest aerospace and defense union in America, we proudly endorse this much-needed legislation and hope it is passed swiftly with bipartisan support.”

“The aviation manufacturing and maintenance industry continues to face stiff headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud and are deeply grateful to Representatives Larsen and Estes for their work to support the industry’s highly skilled workforce. Given that general and commercial aviation are significant contributors to the U.S. economy, it is essential that both industry and government partner together to protect aviation manufacturing and maintenance jobs in this vital sector,” said Pete Bunce, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO.

“This crisis continues to put our skilled aerospace and defense workforce at risk, forcing significant layoffs and furloughs in companies large and small,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “Representatives Larsen and Estes’s bipartisan bill could help save these jobs by providing temporary and targeted support to keep these employees on the payroll.”

Larsen has championed federal relief funding to help save aviation and aerospace jobs and sustain the U.S. aerospace supply chain. Larsen recently urged Congressional leadership to extend the Payroll Support Program which saved 950,000 aviation jobs across the country. Larsen also supported the Paycheck Protection Program which has helped aerospace manufacturers and maintenance companies save more than 1,500 aerospace jobs in Northwest Washington.

Reps. Roger Marshall (KS-01), Tom Cole (OK-04), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Salud Carbajal (CA-24) signed on as original cosponsors of the bill.

For text of the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act of 2020, click here.

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