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Does the aircraft maker need emergency funds?

With seven vaguely written words in the $2 trillion federal stimulus law, Congress carved out a special provision for Boeing, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers.  

Boeing isn’t mentioned by name in the 880-page bill. But the aerospace giant will qualify for as much as $17 billion in taxpayer relief through this language threaded into the fourth paragraph of page 513 of the CARES Act: “businesses critical to maintaining the national security.”

Does Boeing need or deserve taxpayer help?

To critics the answer is a sharp no. They note that the company is sitting on $24 billion in cash and has been the source of severe criticism for its actions in the 737 Max crisis, which was dragging down the company well before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But supporters counter that the aid may be necessary to prevent Boeing from faltering and setting off crushing job cuts across the company and its vast supplier network – and to maintain its role in national defense as a major military contractor. Boeing had about 161,100 employees as of Dec. 31.

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