New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing back against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that states may have to file for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus crisis rather than rely on the federal government for help, calling the proposal “one of the really dumb ideas of all time.”
McConnell came out against the idea of sending billions of federal dollars to state and local governments to help them keep afloat during the coronavirus crisis, saying states should have the ability to declare bankruptcy instead. It was unclear if that could become a political possibility, as it would require new legislation that would be unlikely to pass through the Democratic-controlled House.
As The Hill noted, Cuomo responded to McConnell’s proposal, saying on Thursday that it would not make sense to support federal bailouts to small businesses and private industry, but oppose it when it comes to state and local governments. Cuomo noted that without federal funding, these local governments would not be able to provide many essential services to residents.
“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing, via The Hill.
“Not to fund state and local governments is incredibly short-sighted. They want to fund small businesses, fund the airlines, I understand that, 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 asked.
Cuomo also predicted that forcing states to declare bankruptcy would have a much more devastating impact on the nation’s economy than sending more federal funding and having to pay it back over future generations.
“You want to see that market fall through the cellar — let New York state declare bankruptcy,” Cuomo said.
The New York governor also pushed back the idea that coronavirus relief funds to local governments are a “blue state bailout,” noting that the idea of not helping some of the large and Democratic-led states like New York and California which have suffered from the coronavirus is an “ugly” and unnecessarily partisan idea. Cuomo said “that’s just not who we are as a people” and called for humanity and decency to rule the day.
As The Hill noted, McConnell did not even have the full support of his own party with the idea that states could declare bankruptcy. New York Republican Rep. Peter King said that McConnell’s idea would make him the “Marie Antoinette of the Senate.”