U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that progress was being made on a coronavirus relief package.
The California Democrat, appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, indicated that she and White House negotiators were closer to a deal but blamed Republicans for delays.
Pelosi: "We were trying to get that done in the House, but the Republicans object- objected. But what I said to the airline executives in a public statement is, don't fire people. You know, that relief is on the way."
American Airlines and United began furloughing 32,000 workers last week but said they would reverse course if Congress acts quickly to extend the payroll support program. Pelosi urged the airlines to halt the furloughs.
"Let's keep them employed because, separate from other industries, when you're fired- when you’re let go in the airline industry, it takes months or years to be recertified, reclassified all of that, security clearances and the rest."
Tweeting from Walter Reed hospital, President Donald Trump said on Saturday: "OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!"
House Democrats last week passed a $2.2 trillion fiscal aid package, but the bill is unlikely to be approved in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked every day last week and met in person on Wednesday in an effort to negotiate a new bipartisan aid package.