One of Donald Trump's frequent and most vocal critics among American governors has now lobbied the president for billions of dollars in federal bailout funds for his state. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy met with Trump at the White House on Thursday and during that meeting, he lobbied the president for financial aid to help support the Garden State amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As reported by Politico, Murphy -- who also acts as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association -- pitched Trump on the idea that money that would be earmarked for New Jersey should be viewed as a partnership between the state and the federal government during difficult times, as opposed to a bailout.
"We need a significant amount. This is a big hit. We don't see this as a bailout, we see this as a partnership — doing the right thing in what is the worst health care crisis in the history of our nation."Despite the plea for assistance, Trump remained non-committal on allocating cash for New Jersey and other states. In response to a reporter's question following the meeting, he said that it was a "tough question" where providing states with federal money is concerned.While a number of states have begun the process of reopening commerce, every state has experienced some level of economic downturn as the COVID-19 pandemic persists and businesses keep their doors closed in the interest of public health and in compliance with mandates from local governments.
Democrats in Congress are pushing for funds to help states with the loss of revenue in future stimulus bills. However, Republican leadership has been reluctant to divert funds to state governments. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has argued that opening up a path for states to declare bankruptcy would be a more prudent move and one that would protect future generations from having to reconcile with the debt.
"My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don't have to do that. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of," he said.
Politico noted that New Jersey has experienced the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation -- trailing only New York -- which could mean that a cash infusion is desperately needed in the Garden State. Per the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been more than 116,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and nearly 7,000 deaths in the state. Further, the outlet pointed out that New Jersey received its first credit rating downgrade in years last week.
Following their meeting, Murphy did thank Trump for sending a supply of ventilators and noted that federal assistance will help rapidly expand testing in the state.