U.S. eyes aid for airlines, 'significant' coronavirus stimulus package

(SOUND BITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER LARRY KUDLOW, SAYING:

"It may not be a perfect bill, but it gets done, essentially, what we want it to get done."

U.S. President Donald Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that he thinks the Senate will work on a multi-billion dollar coronavirus aid package starting Monday, after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would provide free testing and paid sick leave, in a bid to limit the economic damage from the pandemic.

(SOUND BITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER LARRY KUDLOW, SAYING:

"Well, I think the Senate's going to work on it tomorrow. I hate to predict that legislative calendar, but I think there's an urgency to this... It's about helping families and middle income and blue collar-type folks. They should not be penalized financially. And we don't want to force them to go outdoors when they should be indoors. So I think this will be a big plus and, yes, I think the Senate will get it done pretty rapidly."

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he expected to have a better idea of the price tag for the stimulus package this week, adding that it would be “significant but not huge.”

Both Mnuchin and Kudlow said they were also planning to talk to lawmakers about critical aid to airlines, as well as the hotel and cruise ship industries.

(SOUND BITE) (English) EXCHANGE BETWEEN CBS NEWS ANCHOR MARGARET BRENNAN AND WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER LARRY KUDLOW:

BRENNAN: "Are you looking at a bailout for airlines, like loan guarantees?

KUDLOW: "Before I get to the bailout, I want to mention some other important areas here..."

BRENNAN: "You said - I just want to clarify. You used the word 'bailout.'"

KUDLOW: "No, I did not."

BRENNAN: "Well, what is it that you were preparing to do for the travel-related industries? Is it loan guarantees? Can airlines plan on that?"

KUDLOW: "It could be. Look, we're talking to the airlines. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is deeply involved. We talk every day. We're gonna go up to the hill this week. We will have a number of new proposals with respect to the airlines."

Airline stocks have plunged in recent weeks as countries impose travel restrictions.

American Airlines said Saturday it plans to cut 75% of its international flights through May 6, as airlines respond to the global collapse in travel demand.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced public schools, sporting events and cultural and entertainment venues to close across the United States.

Economists say the outbreak, which has infected more than 154,000 people worldwide and has killed at least 5,800, could tip the U.S. economy into recession.