New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily news conference amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City.
Bennett Raglin | Getty Images
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the $2 trillion relief package aimed at easing the economic impact of the coronavirus “irresponsible” and “reckless” because it doesn’t provide nearly enough cash to cover his state’s huge loss in revenue.
“The congressional action in my opinion simply failed to address the governmental need,” Cuomo said Thursday at a press conference in Albany.
Cuomo said that the $5 billion New York would receive from the bill doesn’t come close to covering state’s projected revenue shortfall, which could total $15 billion.
“I’m disappointed, I said I was disappointed. I find it irresponsible, I find it reckless,” Cuomo said. “When this is over, I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”
He added that the money New York does get is “earmarked only for COVID virus expenses. Which means it does absolutely nothing for us in terms of lost revenue,” which Cuomo called “the bigger problem.”
New York has already spent $1 billion as it scrambles to respond to the deadly outbreak, Cuomo said.
The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously late last night, helps small businesses and unemployment insurance, “and that is a good thing,” Cuomo said.
But it “did not help local governments or state governments, and it did not address the governmental loss,” he said. “And the federal officials, the ones who are being honest, will admit that.”
The Democratic governor’s state has quickly become the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York shot up to 37,258 on Thursday, comprising more than half of the total number of cases in the country. More than 5,300 residents have already been hospitalized, and the state is projecting that will climb to 140,000 over the next two to three weeks, Cuomo said.
“This is the time for government leaders to stop making excuses and just do your job. Do your job,” Cuomo said.
“Now is a time to actually step up, do the right thing and do your job. And they haven’t as far as I’m concerned when it comes to the governmental need,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at her own press conference Thursday that “there’s no question that more money will be needed.” But she suggested that the necessary funds could be provided through the Federal Reserve.
Pelosi said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told her, “Interest rates are as low as they’ll ever be. Think big.”