New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is furious that the Senate’s sweeping, bipartisan emergency stimulus bill has so little money for his embattled state — and suggested he would push to change the bill, potentially endangering its passage.
“The Senate is also considering a $2 trillion bill, which is quote unquote ‘relief’ for businesses, individuals and governments. It would really be terrible for the state of New York,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said at his Wednesday press conference giving the latest on the escalating crisis in the U.S. epicenter. He warned that the $3.8 billion in the bill for his state was a “drop in the bucket” for a budget shortfall the state faced that could be as large as $15 billion.
Cuomo said he’d talked with the New York House delegation Wednesday morning and told them the bill, which the Senate is rushing to complete and pass on Wednesday, didn’t offer the state nearly enough. It could mean just a handful of lawmakers in the House could throw the massive legislation into uncertainty.
“I’m telling you these numbers don’t work, and we told the House members that we really need their help,” he said, pointing out that the House version of the bill had $17 billion for New York.
Cuomo never explicitly called for Democratic lawmakers to oppose this legislation, and even if he did it’s not certain that any would — but if that happened, it could create a huge amount of chaos and delay the bill’s passage. Cuomo is a formidable figure in the state, so while he doesn’t have direct power to oppose the bill, he could be a persuasive voice for House lawmakers looking for a signal on whether to support the legislation.
A number of Democratic New York lawmakers didn’t respond immediately to messages about whether they’d oppose the plan, which still hasn’t been publicly revealed. It might be more likely that they decide to let this carefully negotiated package pass and look to the next round of coronavirus legislation to fight for more money for New York.
Cuomo’s remarks were particularly stinging given that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), normally a close ally, played a key role in negotiating the legislation.
Senate leaders have agreed in principle to a sweeping, bipartisan bill that would offer huge sums to businesses, state and local governments, newly unemployed people and many others as a way to counteract the devastating effects being wrought by the response to the coronavirus. The sprawling bill’s final version still hasn’t been officially released, but the Senate expects to vote on it Wednesday.
Because the House is out of session, the only way to ensure swift passage of the bill by unanimous consent — and if New York lawmakers agree with Cuomo they could force a slowdown to passing this bill, throwing things into chaos. The Senate plans to adjourn after passing the bill, so any changes even a small group of House lawmakers try to push through could slow the process and potentially disrupt the massive bill’s passage.
That means just a handful of lawmakers in the House could gum up the works and throw the massive legislation into uncertainty.
Cover: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen at a media availability at the newly-established hospital site that will be used to treat COVID-19 patients at the Javits Center in New York , NY, USA on March 24, 2020. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)