May 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New Jersey governor says relief for states is about keeping front-line jobs

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) slammed Republicans on CNN's "State of the Union" for hitting the pause button on more federal coronavirus relief for states, arguing that it's "not just blue states" that are facing massive budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic.

What he's saying: "We announced a budget on Friday for the next four months and we had to cut or defer over $5 billion of expenditures," Murphy said. "This includes potentially laying off educators, firefighters, police, EMS, health care workers. This is not abstract. This is real. It's not a blue state issue. It's an American issue."

  • "It's not a legacy, 'you guys didn't manage yourselves in the past better,'" Murphy continued. "That has nothing to do with this."
  • "This is about keeping those very front-line workers in their jobs, doing the heroic work they're doing, at our hour of need, in the biggest health care crisis in the history of our country, the biggest economic crisis in the history of our country."

The other side: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the former governor of Florida, responded by criticizing Democrats from states like New York and New Jersey for not balancing their budgets before the crisis.

  • "New York has probably 2.5 million people less than Florida and their budget's almost double ours," Scott said on CNN. "Why? Because [Cuomo] doesn't want to cut anything."
  • "You know, he's involved in every liberal thing there is, and then he wants Florida taxpayers to bail him out. There's all these people from New York and New Jersey that moved here to get away from ridiculous taxes up there."

The state of play: Earlier this month, the House passed a bill that includes $500 billion for state governments and $375 billion for local governments. But the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have deemed it dead on arrival, largely dismissing it as a "liberal wishlist."

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed to President Trump at a meeting last week that the next relief package cannot exceed $1 trillion, and it should be narrowly focused on getting money in people's hands immediately, sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

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