Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) and Phil Murphy (N.J.) criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that states should declare bankruptcy instead of receiving a federal bailout.
“I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell said yesterday during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”
McConnell’s statements were swiftly slammed by the governors of the two states most drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Encouraging, explicitly almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest health care crisis this country has ever faced, is completely and utterly irresponsible,” Murphy said. “You have my word. We won’t go bankrupt. But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights … out of the services — the exact services — that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut. We won’t go bankrupt, Senator, but we will leave our citizens in the lurch in their most profound hour of need.”
Cuomo, meanwhile, said McConnell made “one of the dumb statements of all time.”
“You talk about one issue where you think you can get past partisanship and pettiness and you talk about communities where people are dying and you say they are blue states,” Cuomo said during an interview with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “How am I supposed to reopen if you want me to declare bankruptcy?”
McConnell later said that federal aid should not be seen as an opportunity for “revenue replacement.”
“We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them,” McConnell said. “We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they’ve made in the past. We’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created for themselves with bad decisions in the past.”