This week on “Face the Nation” as the West Coast struggles to beat back devastating fires in a COVID-complicated world, the candidates enter the final phase of the 2020 campaign. But the White House is forced to play defense as new revelations raise questions on what President Trump knew, and when.
Here’s the big takeaways from Sunday’s episode of “Face the Nation”
1. Kirby on keeping his airline afloat
- On the cusp of an election and in the midst of a national health crisis, it would not seem good politics to allow mass layoffs of Americans across broad swaths of U.S. industry. Yet Congressional talks to craft any new emergency aid package for jobless benefits or lifelines to troubled industries are stalled.
- That means that within the next two weeks or so U.S. air carriers are warning that the plan to cut tens of thousands of jobs by October once the terms of the CARES Act expire. That emergency financial support package cobbled together by Congress set aside $50 billion for the U.S. travel industry and required airlines to keep employees on the payroll.
- United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby us that he plans to cut 16,000 jobs but is working with unions to try to reduce that number. The bottom line is that large parts of the economy cannot recovery until there is vaccine, and in the meantime companies are just hoping to stay afloat.
- Kirby warned: “without more government support for the whole economy, there’s going to be more layoffs to come across the economy.”
- “And in a business like ours, demand is not going to come back until people feel safe being around other people. And that’s going to take a vaccine. And that’s just the reality. Some businesses can recover earlier, but in aviation and all the industries that we support, it’s going to take longer.”
2. So when will that vaccine be ready?
- Pfizer is investing one and a half billion dollars to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. If its scientists fail then the cost will hit the pharmaceutical giant’s bottom line. Unlike six other vaccine developers, Pfizer declined to accept U.S. taxpayer funding to offset those costs. The company’s CEO Albert Bourla that he did so to “liberate” scientists from bureaucracy and thus to be more nimble.
- What Bourla said: “When you get money from someone that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are going to progress, what type of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn’t want to have any of that. I wanted them- basically I gave them an open checkbook so that they can worry only about scientific challenges, not anything else. And also, I wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics, by the way.”
- How will Americans get the vaccine? “The how I think is going to be very difficult for the government to