Cuomo slams McConnell: States declaring bankruptcy is 'one of the really dumb ideas of all time'

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York City moving thousands of people from hotels back to shelters Bank of America: All vaccinated workers to return to office after Labor Day US Open allowing 100 percent spectator capacity at matches MORE (D) slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory Graham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday for saying he supports allowing states to declare bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing. 

“Not to fund state and local governments is incredibly short-sighted. They want to fund small businesses, fund the airlines, I understand that, but state and local governments fund police and fire and teachers and schools. How do you not fund police and fire and teachers and schools in the midst of this crisis?” Cuomo added.


He said if the federal government doesn't fund the states, the states can’t fund the vital services. 

Additional funding for state and local governments has turned into a point of contention as lawmakers negotiate federal coronavirus relief. The National Governors Association sent a letter to McConnell and other congressional leaders Tuesday asking Congress to approve $500 billion "in direct federal aid that allows for replacement of lost revenue."

A $484 billion bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday and expected to clear the House Thursday did not include any new funding for state and local governments despite Democrats' initial demands. Congress provided $150 billion for state and local governments as part of last month’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill and it is expected to be a key issue when lawmakers turn toward a fourth stimulus bill.

“It makes no sense that the entire nation is dependent on what the governors do to reopen … but then you're not going to fund the state government. You think I’m going to do it alone? How do you think this is going to work?” Cuomo said. 

He also said that allowing states to declare bankruptcy would be devastating to the national economy. 

“You want to see that market fall through the cellar — let New York state declare bankruptcy,” Cuomo said. 


McConnell on Wednesday told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he supported allowing cash-strapped states to declare bankruptcy

"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 said.

Cuomo on Thursday also slammed McConnell for his office branding the push for more state funding as “blue state bailouts.” 

Cuomo said it’s not a time for McConnell’s “political obsessive bias and anger.” 

“Just think of what he's saying. People died, 15,000 people died in New York, but they were predominantly Democrats so why should we help them. I mean for crying out loud if there was ever a time ... to put aside your pettiness and your partisanship,” Cuomo said. 

Cuomo said he has not contacted McConnell and does not intend to do so. 

A spokesperson for McConnell’s office was not immediately available for comment in response to Cuomo’s comments. 

McConnell even received some heat within his own party over his comments. Republican New York Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingNewsmax anchor Greg Kelly to host New York radio show Top GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee Republican Garbarino wins election to replace retiring Rep. Pete King MORE on Wednesday said McConnell’s support for states declaring bankruptcy made him the “Marie Antoinette of the Senate.” 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has similarly criticized McConnell, calling his support for allowing states to declare bankruptcy “completely and utterly irresponsible.”