Inside the 110,000-square-foot Gourmet Door near Dulles Int. Airport.
Astrid Riecken | The Washington Post | Pictures of Getty
On Wednesday three House Democrats overthrew air contractors who laid off more than 9,000 employees despite accepting millions in federal coronavirus aid.
Lawmakers have asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to stop aid to companies or demand some of the funds back.
Congress set aside $ 32 billion in wage support to the struggling airline industry in the $ 2.2 trillion CARES Act in March. Of that sum, $ 3 billion has been set aside for contractors such as caterers. The terms of the aid, which were mostly grants, prohibited recipients from placing workers outside 30 September.
“We urge the Treasury to stop providing taxpayer-funded wage support to redundant workers and to recover any funds that were not given properly,” the Rep. Wrote. James Clyburn, DS.C., chair of a subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the transport and infrastructure committee of the House of Representatives and Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the financial services committee, in a letter to Mnuchin.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lawmakers said they have begun an investigation into the aid to contractors and said they have found at least 12 who have accepted more than $ 720 million in government support after setting up about 9,300 people.
Among the companies identified by lawmakers was airline caterer Gate Gourmet, whose Zurich-based owner category, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lawmakers said the company is receiving $ 171 million and that it has laid off more than 3,500 workers in California, Georgia, Illinois and New York.
“Providing wage support to companies involved in mass layoffs not only goes against congressional intent, but also wastes taxpayers’ dollars by covering wage costs. for employees who have already been fired, “lawmakers said in a letter to the company.
Unit Here, the union representing workers at the Gourmet Gate and Flying Food, another contractor who also did not comment immediately, asked to accept the aid despite the “reprehensible” cuts.
“These catering companies must have raised tens of millions of dollars and then left the workers whose money was meant to support them to vape for themselves by applying for state and federal unemployment benefits,” said Meghan Cohorst, press secretary of Unite Here.