Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that states that are the most impacted by coronavirus should declare bankruptcy instead of getting money from the government.
McConnell made the comments Wednesday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show.
At his daily press briefing, Cuomo called McConnell's suggestion "one of the really dumb ideas of all time."
He said the idea of not funding state and local governments impacted by the virus is "incredibly short-sighted."
The governor said the local municipalities are responsible for paying many of the workers deemed essential during the crisis.
"They want to fund small business, fund the airlines, I understand that," Cuomo said. "But state and local governments fund police and fire and teachers and schools. How do you not fund police and fire and teachers and schools in the midst of this crisis?"
Cuomo also pointed out that state governors will be in charge of what the country does to reopen, and that it makes no sense to him not to fund those governments now that that protocol has been established.
"You think I'm going to do it alone?" he said. "How do you think this is going to work?"
He added that having states declare bankruptcy would lead to "a collapse of this national economy."
"That’s how you’re going to bring this national economy back? By states declaring bankruptcy?" he said. "You want to see that market fall through the cellar?"
Cuomo also took exception to McConnell's characterization of sending funding to states as a "blue-state bailout."
"Don’t help New York State because it is a Democratic state. How ugly a thought," the governor said. "I mean, just think of, just think of what he’s saying. People died, 15,000 people died in New York, but they were predominantly Democrats, so why should we help them? For crying out loud."
Funding for state and local governments was not included in the bill that the House was expected to pass Thursday. Cuomo said he told "his colleagues in Washington" that he would have insisted that that funding was in that bill, because he said he doesn't believe Washington wants to fund state and local governments. He says not doing so would be "incredibly short-sighted."
Cuomo, along with Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, is seeking a $500 billion aid package for states. He has sought to highlight the bipartisan push, which is being made through the National Governors Association. Cuomo is vice chairman; Hogan is chairman.
Cuomo has been seeking billions of dollars in aid for the state and local governments in New York amid the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis. New York has already received about $5.5 billion in aid from the federal government. But Cuomo points to the lost tax revenue, which could reach as high as $10 billion this month alone.
Cuomo has said schools and health care could be on the chopping in New York if more aid does not come for New York. The governor's budget director, Robert Mujica, said Wednesday that New York so far has spent $2.8 billion responding to the pandemic.
Reporting by Nick Reisman was included in this report.