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Since Donald Trump has left the roadmap for moving forward with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the eventual lifting of the extreme lockdown and social distancing measures to the individual states, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo said his immediate concern is to stabilize the finances of the states.
Trump this week directed individual state governors to “call the shots” on when their individual states would begin lifting the current conditions in place to slow the spread of the virus, which is responsible for killing more than 33,000 Americans.
The US economy has largely come to a halt as a result of the extreme measures required to combat the pandemic, and that economic fallout is also hurting state and local governments.
The area in and around New York has been the epicenter of the pandemic for weeks, and Cuomo’s daily briefings have been televised nationally, elevating him to something of a national leader during this crisis.
“The federal government has passed three bills to address this crisis. Of those three bills, the state governments have gotten precisely zero, zilch, nada, an unrestricted aid. ‘The state should this, the state should this, the state should this,’ yes,” Cuomo said. “What support have you given the states? None. How can that even be? Have is that even plausible as a strategy? It doesn’t work. We need financial resources to stabilize the states, because when you starve the state governments, I still eat, but we can’t fund schools, we can’t fund hospitals, we can’t fund small business, we can’t fund all of these extraordinary efforts that we are undertaking. It makes no sense.
“We need to support the states because the states are the ones who are doing this. Reopening is up to the states, right? That’s the federal decree,” he added. “It’s up to the governors, the governors will decide. The states have to decide.
“Everyone is in a different position and it’s up to the states, which I agreed. It also happens to be the Constitution, but put that aside. I also think it’s the right approach,” Cuomo said. “Okay, it’s up to the states, but then don’t ask the states, don’t give them this massive undertaking that has never been done before and then not give them any resources to do it. That’s not how this is going to work.
Cuomo invoked an old saying, “Don’t pass the buck, without passing the bucks.”
“Don’t ask the states to do this, ‘It’s up to the governors, up to the governors, up to the governors.’ Okay. Is there any funding so I can do these things that you want us to do? No. That is passing the buck without passing the bucks,” Cuomo explained. “Passing the buck, which is the opposite of the buck stops here — the buck doesn’t stop here — I am passing the buck, and I am not passing the bucks. I am not giving the financial assistance to actually perform the responsibility.”
Democrats are holding up further economic stimulus legislation in Congress until congressional Republicans are willing to include aid to state and local governments, as well as hospitals.
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