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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the federal government has a "moral obligation" to provide funding for states in its next coronavirus relief bill, noting that police officers, health care workers and firefighters will be the first ones laid off as a result of massive budget deficits.

Why it matters: The House last week passed a bill that includes $500 billion for state governments and $375 billion for local governments. But the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have deemed it dead on arrival, signaling that they want to wait a few weeks until deciding on whether to pass another relief package.

  • McConnell and other Republicans have suggested that the federal government should not bail out Democratic states that had budgetary problems prior to the pandemic.
  • Newsom dismissed this criticism on CNN, noting that California was running a $21.5 billion surplus a year ago. Now, as a result of lost revenue, the state has a $54.3 billion budget deficit that is "directly COVID-induced," Newsom said.

What he's saying:

"The next time they want to salute and celebrate our heroes, our first responders, our police officers and firefighters, consider the fact that they are the first ones that will be laid off by cities and counties. Folks that are out there, the true heroes of this pandemic, our health care workers and nurses. Those county health systems have been ravaged, their budgets have been devastated and depleted, the budget counts depleted since this pandemic. They're the first ones to be laid off. So we've got to square our rhetoric with the reality."
— Gavin Newsom

Go deeper: States face economic death spiral from coronavirus

Go deeper

Rep. Butterfield: "It's unthinkable" if transportation continues to suffer amid pandemic

Axios' Ina Fried and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). Photo: Axios

The federal government must prioritize local and state transportation for the economy to recover from the pandemic, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) stressed on Friday, calling the alternative "unthinkable" during an Axios virtual event on The Future of Transportation & COVID-19.

The big picture: Many cities have introduced funding cuts to their public transit systems after the pandemic shut down economies. Ridership is still down in many regions, and those cuts affect essential workers the most, Butterfield said.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 21, 2020 - Energy & Environment

California’s crises show politicization of climate change and energy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The response from America’s political class to California’s overlapping crises of heatwaves, wildfires and power blackouts shows just how politicized these topics have become.

Driving the news: President Trump and other Republicans say the whole country will face California’s problems if Democrats pass their climate policies. Meanwhile, some Democrats are pushing political messages with the state’s extreme weather.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry,

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.