US airlines were awaiting progress on COVID-19 relief proposals in Washington that could include another $17 billion in payroll support for an industry bracing for a renewed slump in air travel as cases spike across the country. The number of passengers screened at US airports dipped to 501,513 on Tuesday, the lowest number since July 4 as COVID-19 cases spike, and Delta Air Lines’ chief executive warned that the outlook remained bleak in the months ahead. An initial $25 billion in payroll support for airline employees expired in October, prompting tens of thousands of furloughs. Airlines have lobbied for fresh relief, arguing their infrastructure is critical to quickly and widely distributing COVID-19 vaccines. A summary of the draft legislation seen by Reuters would provide payroll aid through the end of March, protecting workers and banning share buybacks and dividends and limiting executive compensation during that period. US carriers are burning $180 million in cash every day, with passenger volumes down 65% to 70% and cancellations rising, industry lobby Airlines for America (A4A) said on Wednesday.