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Cuomo: Coronavirus Relief Bill ‘Is Not Enough,’ States Need Funding

TOPLINE

Following his meeting with President Trump a day earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Wednesday that it is crucial for the next piece of federal legislation to include funding to states, many of which are facing growing deficits.

KEY FACTS

Cuomo told reporters that political disagreements were “put aside” for his meeting with Trump on Tuesday, calling his visit to the White House “productive.”

The governor of New York met with the president and his team to discuss efforts to ramp up widespread coronavirus testing as well as provide more federal funding to states, which have been dealing with massive budget shortfalls.

“The states are all basically in a deficit situation and we need funding from Washington,” Cuomo said on Wednesday, reiterating that all of the governors are united—with Democrats, Republicans and the National Governors Association all calling for more funding.

While past legislation—Congress has so far passed four different coronavirus stimulus bills—helped a lot of Americans and small businesses, they did very little in the way of providing funding to states, he pointed out.

“Yes they passed other funding—that’s a good thing—but it’s not enough either,” Cuomo said. “You have to help state governments… you can’t just ignore them.”

Congress must “insist” that state funding is included in the next coronavirus relief bill, the New York governor said. “The president gets it, he says he’s going to work very hard in the next piece of legislation.”

Cuomo also expressed gratitude that Trump had agreed to waive New York’s share of FEMA expenses (normally a state has to match 25% of FEMA’s costs), which he says would have been a “cruel irony for New York, adding insult to injury” if his state had been required to pay.

CRUCIAL QUOTE

“These are people in the White House who politically don’t like me… [Trump] has often tweeted unkind things about me,” Cuomo admitted, when describing his meeting with the president. “But we sat with him, we sat with his team—and that was put aside, because who really cares how I feel or he feels?” the governor said. The most important thing right now, he reiterated, is to just “get the job done.”

Big number: $500 billion.

That’s how much states could lose over the next two years from coronavirus-related spending, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

KEY BACKGROUND

The latest coronavirus relief bill, passed by the Senate on Tuesday, allocates more funds for small businesses, hospitals and coronavirus testing. It noticeably leaves out aid for state and local governments, however: Many of them are warning of massive budget shortfalls and expecting a wave of layoffs and pay cuts. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, signed by President Trump late last month, only included $150 billion of aid to state governments.

Crucial statistics

Cuomo confirmed on Wednesday that New York’s coronavirus numbers are “in a much better place.” Though the state has over 258,500 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, new hospitalizations and intubations have continued to decline in recent weeks as social distancing measures pay off. Another 474 New Yorkers died since Tuesday, which Cuomo calls “terrible news,” though he pointed out that number is on a “gentle decline”—down from over 700 deaths per day a week ago.

Tangent

Cuomo also announced that with Connecticut and New Jersey, New York would be launching a “nation-leading” contact tracing effort. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is offering financial assistance and has volunteered to help implement the testing program.

Further reading

Coronavirus Hospitalizations In New York Fall To Lowest Level In Almost A Month (Forbes)

Cuomo: ‘If You Want States To Reopen, We Need Funding’ (Forbes)

Cuomo on Trump: ‘He’s Doing Nothing’ (Forbes)

Cuomo: Trump Does Not Have ‘Total Authority’ Over States, Says He Would Resist Order To Reopen New York (Forbes)

Governors Call For $500 Billion To States Even After Top Republicans Say No (Forbes)

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