• The Americans for Prosperity PAC sent a letter to House and Senate leaders
  • The letter comes the same day the administration is presenting an $850 billion emergency economic stimulus package that contains funds for airlines
  • The letter warns against using the crisis to push through major policy initiatives

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the $850 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package the administration is presenting on Capitol Hill would contain funds to shore up U.S. airlines, but a political advocacy group backed by billionaire Charles Koch urged lawmakers Tuesday to show restraint and reject expansive industry bailouts.

Mnuchin told a White House coronavirus briefing the administration views the airlines, which sought $50 billion in aid Monday to cushion the impact of coronavirus, as essential and would take action to help them through the crisis brought on by recommendations that travel, domestic and international, be curtailed to stem spread of the virus that has infected nearly 196,000 worldwide, killing more than 7,800. In the U.S., more than 5,700 cases have been confirmed along with more than six dozen deaths.

Americans for Prosperity sent a letter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying any aid package should be targeted toward “our most vulnerable citizens and assist businesses in working through the disruptions and challenges.”

“We are troubled by recent calls to provide expansive, taxpayer-backed industry bailouts that extend far beyond any concrete and particularized injury resulting from the coronavirus,” the letter reads. “We are equally troubled by special interest attempts to exploit the current crisis to make controversial, long-term policy changes for their own gain and with far-reaching negative implications for the American people.”

The PAC said action should be temporary and tied to “the impact and duration” of the outbreak, avoid usurping the roles of state and local governments and avoid making the federal budget deficit worse.

“Congress should not use this crisis to reward well-connected businesses at the expense of those most in need,” the letter said, adding, “This is not a time for politics or to allow the need for action to be exploited to push partisan or special interest agendas.”

Also signing the letter were the Concerned Veterans for America and the LIBRE Initiative.

Koch and his late brother, David, built a network of libertarian and conservative donors that exerts pressure on Republican politicians, funneling financial support to campaigns and into Super PACS that conduct massive advertising campaigns.