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Dems' COVID relief package already saving tens of thousands of jobs

It's not often Congress passes a law on a Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, tens of thousands of American jobs have been saved.
Image: An Amtrak train waits at a station
An Amtrak train waits at a station in May 2017.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

It was just last month when American Airlines announced it was sending furlough notices to roughly 13,000 employees. Within a few hours of Congress passing the Democratic COVID relief package, the company reversed course, saying those workers can now stay on the job.

A letter from American Airlines executives read, "To those who had received notices warning of furloughs: those are happily canceled -- you can tear them up!"

As it turns out, those weren't the only jobs saved by the American Rescue Plan. The Washington Post reported yesterday:

Two airline giants said that they would cancel tens of thousands of planned layoffs because of aid earmarked for them in the $1.9 trillion stimulus measure passed by Congress this week, an early sign of job losses averted by the landmark package. Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, which had warned employees about 14,000 layoffs last month, said in a social media post that Congress's new funding for airlines would allow the workers to receive their paychecks and health care through September.

That's 27,000 American workers who were poised to be laid off, but who'll now remain in their jobs thanks to the new law.

The same article added:

The bill also provides $8 billion to U.S. airports and some $30.5 billion in grants to other transit agencies. Amtrak, which is scheduled to receive about $1.7 billion, said Wednesday that hundreds of furloughed employees could be called back to work as early as next month. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York had warned that it might have to eliminate 9,000 positions. But it is expected to receive $6 billion from the stimulus package now, which it said would help protect against layoffs and service cuts in the coming years.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was also moving forward with plans to cut roughly 2,400 positions, and it now won't have to.

Following up on yesterday's coverage, it's not often Congress passes a law on a Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, tens of thousands of American jobs have been saved. And yet, that's precisely what happened this week.

What's more, the relief package isn't just about saving jobs, it's also about creating them. In his White House address last night, President Joe Biden insisted that the American Rescue Plan would "create millions of jobs."

That's entirely in line with independent economic forecasts, some of which have projected the law may create as many as 7 million jobs.

That won't quite bring us back to where we were before the pandemic began -- we're currently 9.5 million jobs short of pre-crisis levels -- but it will be an enormous step in the right direction.

If these projections prove true, it will also make matters a bit more complicated for congressional Republicans, zero of whom supported the popular Democratic proposal.