WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of 16 Senate Republicans on Wednesday backed extending a $25 billion payroll assistance program for U.S. airlines who have warned they may be forced to cut tens of thousands of jobs after Sept. 30 without government action, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter, which was led by Senator Cory Gardner, was signed by Senators Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, James Inhofe, James Risch, John Cornyn, Todd Young, Susan Collins, Martha McSally and others. It’s the first public disclosure of significant support in the Senate for additional emergency funding for U.S. airlines. The senators said they backed a new six-month extension of the $25 billion payroll support program “to avoid furloughs and further support those workers.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Diane Craft

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