Rep. Burchett calls on airlines to avoid executive bonuses, stands up for independent contractors amid COVID-19 crisis

March 24, 2020
Press Release
Urges airline CEO’s to reject taxpayer-funded bonuses; Calls for independent contractors to be included in stimulus package

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 24, 2020) -- Today, Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) sent two separate letters related to the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts by Rep. Burchett show, despite the disruption caused by Coronavirus on the day-to-day operations of the Legislative Branch, that he is committed to delivering results for East Tennesseans.

In a letter to Nicholas Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America, Rep. Burchett called for no bonuses for airline executives that are receiving taxpayer-funded financial assistance from Congress in the COVID-19 stimulus package.

“If airlines take taxpayer-funded stimulus resources, airline companies should not offer any bonuses to executives whatsoever, no matter an executive’s previous-year total compensation,” Rep. Burchett wrote. “I am confident each executive of an airline company is able to survive on their straight salary so that scarce resources aren’t used to pay for unnecessary fringe benefits.”

In a separate letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Burchett, along with Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Phil Roe (TN-01), and Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), requested independent contractors receive significant financial assistance in the COVID-19 stimulus package being worked on by the House and Senate.

“As you work with the relevant committees of jurisdiction to prepare a stimulus package to combat the economic damage caused by this viral outbreak, our members hope you will include robust supports for the independent contractor model, as well as safe harbor language for gig economy companies to provide workers with additional assistance during a time of national emergency,” the members wrote in their letter.

Rep. Burchett remains focused on workers across a variety of industries, small business owners, independent contractors, and self-employed Americans most impacted by the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, Rep. Burchett sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee urging him to declare Tennessee a COVID-19 disaster area, which would make small businesses across the state eligible for Economic Disaster Injury Loans through the Small Business Administration. The SBA approved Governor Lee’s request on March 20th.

You can read Rep. Burchett’s full letter to Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio here, and the full letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer concerning independent contractors here.