States Desperate For More Federal Relief
As Congress launches another series of debates over federal funding, the intensifying budget emergency created by the coronavirus is being brought to attention by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and New York governor Andrew Cuomo for approval for another bailout.
Kelsey Snell covered the fight for more support in a recently published NPR report.
The governors said in a joint statement that “In the absence of unrestricted fiscal support of at least $500 billion from the Federal government, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to critically important services all across this country. Hampering public health, the economic recovery, and — in turn — our collective effort to get people back to work.”
The appeal for additional funds highlights the progressively desperate financial burden states are dealing with because of the ongoing pandemic. Aside from a $250 billion addition to a credit program for small businesses, Republicans in Congress have declined requests for more fiscal spending linked to the coronavirus.
States Caught Between The Aisle
On Thursday, Republicans denied states $150 billion and $100 billion for hospitals as well as stipulations that a share of profits from new small companies go to local financial institutions after Democrats barred the small business package.
In a separate announcement issued on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said they would keep blocking Congressional Democrats’ calls. “Republicans reject Democrats’ reckless threat to continue blocking job-saving funding unless we renegotiate unrelated programs which are not in similar peril. This will not be Congress’s last word on COVID-19, but this crucial program needs funding now. American workers cannot be used as political hostages.”
Throughout the week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have maintained talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, inviting bipartisan communication on both sides of the aisle.
In a Saturday statement, Pelosi addressed the dire needs of states struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. “Our state and local governments are in crisis, and between emergency expenses and rising unemployment sapping revenue, they need an immediate infusion of funds to prevent the collapse of essential services. On a bipartisan basis, governors are crying out for help, and Congress must act. Democrats will continue to push for urgently needed funds for state and local governments in the interim emergency bill and CARES 2.”
Despite vocal calls from state and congressional leaders, President Trump has ignored complaints about states’ current strain, saying “We’re getting very few calls from governors. They’re all in great shape.”
During a Friday White House conference, the president told the press that he was not listening to criticisms, especially those regarding inadequate federal support with medical equipment.
On Thursday, governors Hogan and Cuomo voiced their frustration with Mnuchin, telling him that states are unable to sustain their budgets with the current funding.
Maryland is calculating a $2.8 budget deficit due to the current coronavirus response and the closure of most of its businesses. New York assessed that it had lost over $10 billion in state revenue since the outbreak began.
It has been half a month since Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES bill, which enclosed $150 billion for states. However, states are still waiting to see any of the funding.
- Snell, Kelsey. “Governors Call For $500 Billion Bailout Amid Standoff Over Coronavirus Relief Funds.” NPR, NPR, 11 Apr. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/11/832443932/governors-call-for-500-billion-bailout-amid-standoff-over-coronavirus-relief-fun.