In the months after Congress allocated billions of dollars to keep airline industry employees working, passenger airlines applied for shares of that money and then laid off less than 1% of their workers, until the funding ran out.

Airline contractors similarly applied for money and then laid off about 58,000 people, about 35% of their workers, a new report says.

“Contrary to congressional intent, Treasury permitted aviation contractors to lay off thousands of workers and receive full payroll support calculated based on the companies’ pre-pandemic workforce,” according to a report, released Friday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

The report, “Unnecessary Costs: How the Trump Administration Allowed Thousands of Aviation Workers to Lose Their Jobs,” was issued by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

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The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon money to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But a few weeks later, the Defense Department began reshaping how it would award the money in a way that represented a major departure from Congress’s original intent.

The payments were made even though U.S. health officials believe there are still major funding gaps in responding to the pandemic. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Senate testimony last week that states desperately need $6 billion to distribute vaccines to Americans early next year. There remains a severe shortage of N95 masks at numerous U.S. hospitals. These are the types of problems that the money was originally intended to address.

“This is part and parcel of whether we have budget priorities that actually serve our public safety or whether we have a government

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a man standing in front of a sign: Rideshare drivers demonstrate against rideshare companies Uber and Lyft during a car caravan protest on August 6, 2020 in Los Angeles. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images


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Rideshare drivers demonstrate against rideshare companies Uber and Lyft during a car caravan protest on August 6, 2020 in Los Angeles. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

  • Right-wing news outlets, a social media mob, and public relations firms hired by Uber and Lyft are playing a role in the tech firms’ attempt to keep paying drivers as contractors, per a CNET report.
  • Uber, Lyft, Postmates, DoorDash, and Instacart created and funded Proposition 22 to be exempt from AB5, a California law passed in late 2019 that forces them to pay gig workers as employees.
  • The report comes as the companies ramp up efforts to push Prop 22 past the finish line in the upcoming November election.
  • “This effort is an attempt to exploit workers who are without any labor protection, which is what the California Supreme Court and the legislature are concerned about. These companies are
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DeLAND, Fla. – Debris from Tuesday’s EF-2 tornado hadn’t even settled yet, when Alvin Azama and his neighbors said people swarmed Kensington Avenue, soliciting their services.

“I had so many business cards at my door, it wasn’t even funny,” Azama said. “It’s inconsiderate because you don’t even have time to think what actually went on and assess the damage yourself before everybody is in your face and asking questions and wanting to help you, supposedly.”

Azama said his alarm bells went off when the person asked him to immediately sign a contract to fix his damaged roof.

“They want to give you a free estimate on your roof damage and then when you do that, then they want you to sign a contract. I just feel like it’s all scams,” he said.

The Ef-2 tornado whipped through DeLand on Aug. 18 causing $7.4 million in damages to homes and businesses

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The coronavirus brought a $10.5 million windfall for Noble Sales Co. in orders from the federal government for plastic bags, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and gloves. Citing the economic strain of the pandemic, the company also was approved for a federal Paycheck Protection Program check worth at least $2 million.



a group of people on a sidewalk in front of a building: In the U.S. Small Business Administration's recently released data on Paycheck Protection Program recipients, the seasonal 'Round the Corner Ice Cream shop in Saugatuck is listed as receiving between $2 and $5 million, despite only having 10 employees. Owner Lisa Freeman says the shop got less than $20,000 and that the SBA has made "a grave error."


© ‘Round the Corner Ice Cream
In the U.S. Small Business Administration’s recently released data on Paycheck Protection Program recipients, the seasonal ‘Round the Corner Ice Cream shop in Saugatuck is listed as receiving between $2 and $5 million, despite only having 10 employees. Owner Lisa Freeman says the shop got less than $20,000 and that the SBA has made “a grave error.”

It’s the kind of double-dipping federal auditors fear could be rampant, a collision between the overnight need for supplies and a separate hastily created program aimed at keeping small businesses afloat. 

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A USA TODAY analysis

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The coronavirus brought a $10.5 million windfall for Noble Sales Co. in orders from the federal government for plastic bags, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and gloves. Citing the economic strain of the pandemic, the company also was approved for a federal Paycheck Protection Program check worth at least $2 million.

It’s the kind of double-dipping federal auditors fear could be rampant, a collision between the overnight need for supplies and a separate hastily created program aimed at keeping small businesses afloat. 

A USA TODAY analysis of $522 billion PPP spending data matched with $19.5 billion in federal coronavirus response shows that at least 700 vendors that scored lucrative federal coronavirus contracts also received emergency aid. Together those vendors received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts – and at least $618 million in PPP loans through the Small Business Administration.

The loan program does not preclude those with federal contracts

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