Apr 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo tears into McConnell for suggesting states should declare bankruptcy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that states should file for bankruptcy instead of receiving coronavirus relief from the federal government, calling it “one of the really dumb ideas of all time.”

Why it matters: New York and other states have faced massive revenue shortfalls as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Cuomo said Wednesday that President Trump has agreed to push for funding for state and local governments in the next stimulus bill, but the idea has faced resistance from McConnell.

Driving the news: McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday he didn't want to "just send a blank check down to states and local governments to spend anyway they choose to." He instead suggested allowing them to file for bankruptcy.

"Yeah, I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. 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."
— McConnell to Hugh Hewitt

What he's saying: At a press briefing Thursday, Cuomo responded to McConnell by saying his idea would lead to a "collapse of this national economy."

  • "This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time. I said to my colleagues in Washington, I would have insisted that state and local funding was in this current bill, because I don't believe they want to fund state and local governments."

Cuomo also criticized language in press releases from McConnell's office that described funding for states as "blue state bailouts," calling it "vicious."

  • "How ugly a thought? I mean just think of what he's saying. People died. 15,000 people died in New York."
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