May 12, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Members of NY Congressional Delegation Will Introduce 'Americans First Law' to Stop Corporate Bailouts

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Members of NY Congressional Delegation Will Introduce 'Americans First Law' to Stop Corporate Bailouts

First Proposed by the Governor, the Legislation States that a Corporation Cannot Be Eligible for Government Funding if it Does Not Rehire the Same Number of Employees it Had Before the COVID-19 Pandemic

Renews Bipartisan Call from National Governors Association for Unrestricted Fiscal Support for States in Next Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

Regional Monitoring Dashboard Showing How Many Metrics Each Region Has Met to Reopen is Available Here

Confirms 1,430 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 338,485; New Cases in 37 Counties

Governor Cuomo: "Never forget what we did here. What New Yorkers did, by their actions and their sacrifice. They saved lives. They saved hundreds of thousands of lives because that projection of what the virus was supposed to do was much, much worse than what it wound up doing. So we're making real progress, there's no doubt. But there's also no doubt that it's no time to get cocky, no time to get arrogant. This virus has deceived us every step of the way. We have been behind this virus from the very beginning. And it still surprises us."

Cuomo: "I want to propose a law that's very simple: Americans First. Americans first. Not America first, Americans first. Protect the worker. Corporation wants a bail out? Corporation wants money? Fine. But if you do not rehire the same number of employees, give the money back. If you do not rehire the same number of employees, no government gift and bail out for you. That's the Americans First law. Very simple but undeniable."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that members of New York's Congressional Delegation - Representative Nydia Velázquez, Representative Thomas Suozzi, Representative Carolyn Maloney, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Representative Gregory Meeks, Representative Grace Meng, Representative Eliot Engel, Representative Paul Tonko, Representative José Serrano, Representative Joe Morelle, Representative Adriano Espaillat and Representative Yvette Clarke - will propose the 'Americans First Law' to help prevent corporate bailouts following the COVID-19 pandemic. First proposed by the Governor on May 10th, the law states that a corporation cannot be eligible to receive government funding if it doesn't maintain the same number of employees that the corporation had before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor also issued a joint statement with NGA Chair, Maryland Governor Hogan renewing the bipartisan call from the National Governors Association for unrestricted fiscal support for states in the next federal COVID-19 relief bill. The next bill should focus on funding state and local governments, working families, state testing and tracing efforts and a real economic stimulus with no handouts to corporations who do not protect their workers and only enrich executives or shareholders.

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here, with ASL interpretation available on YouTube here and in TV quality format here.

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Pleasure to be with all of you today. Let me introduce who we have with us. To my far right, we have, we have a very loud noise that is very disturbing. Has nothing to do with the, Gareth Rhodes, however, who's a big part of our effort here. To his left, my right, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor. To my left, we have Mr. James Malatras, Ph.D. doctor. It's a pleasure to be in Binghamton today at Binghamton state university, brand new school of pharmacy. President Harvey Stenger, thank you very much for having us. It's a beautiful new facility, pleasure to be here. We're getting a little bit of a late start, I wanted to hear the Senate briefing this morning on the COVID virus, see if there was any new thinking. Let us give you the facts and some of the new thinking that we're doing here in New York.

Number of total hospitalizations in the state is down again. That is good news. The net change in hospitalizations, three-day rolling average, little more accurate, that's down. The intubation rate is down. Look, that's just about where we were when we started. Literally the closedown and literally.

Number of lives lost, about 195 yesterday. That is the most devastating number that we have to deal with every day. It's actually up a little bit from the day before. But overall, the trend is down. And if you look at the number of lives lost, again, we're just about where we were when we started before we saw the onslaught of the virus and then dealt with it and changed the trajectory of the virus. Never forget what we did here. What New Yorkers did, by their actions and theirsacrifice. They saved lives. They saved hundreds of thousands of lives because that projection of what the virus was supposed to do was much, much worse than what it wound up doing. So we're making real progress, there's no doubt. But there's also no doubt that it's no time to get cocky, no time to get arrogant. This virus has deceived us every step of the way. We have been behind this virus from the very beginning. And it still surprises us.

We thought, initially, that it didn't affect children. We're now dealing with an issue that's very disturbing. We have about 100 cases of a inflammatory disease in young children that seems to be created by the COVID virus. And this is something that is just starting and New York is leading the investigation of this situation. The symptoms of the children are analyzed to the Kawasaki disease, or toxic shock-like syndrome, but it's an inflammation of the blood vessels and can affect the heart. We've lost three children, 5-year-old boy, 7-year-old boy, an 18-year-old girl. The ages of the children affected in these 100 cases is all across the board, as you can see. Less than one year old, predominately 5 to 14, but we lost a young lady at 18 years old and we have some cases up to 21 years old. So this is a truly disturbing situation and I know parents around the state and around the country are very concerned about this and they should be. If we have this issue in New York, it's probably in other states, and probably hasn't been diagnosed yet in other states. Because again, these children don't present the usual COVID symptoms. They're not respiratory symptoms. And I think that's one of the reasons why people haven't found it yet. But they know what the symptoms are, if your child has the symptoms that they are saying are symptoms that should cause an alert. We need parents to be advised. We also have the state Department of Health that is telling hospitals and medical providers to prioritize testing for the COVID virus for any children that are demonstrating these symptoms.

At the same time, while we're not cocky or arrogant, we're talking about reopening. We have to get back to work. We all do. We talk about New York being tough but tough also means smart and we have been smart all through this.

You look at where we are today. The curve in New York - New York is on the decline. You take New York out of the numbers for the rest of the nation, the nation is still on the incline in the number of cases. So we have been smart. We got hit worst because the virus was coming through Europe. Nobody even told us. Nobody even knew. But we took the worst and we turned the curve and we are, we have a better curve now than you see in many other states and certainly as the United States as a whole.

So reopening, yes. But it still means we have to be smart. What does smart mean? It means following the CDC guidelines to begin with. Follow the data. Follow the science. We said that from day one. Don't fall subject to a motion and politics. Stay with the science and the data. Listen to Dr. Fauci. Even this morning he said if you don't follow the CDC guidelines you run a real risk of triggering an outbreak that can get out of control.

What is out of control? Out of control is when the number of people infected going to your hospital system overwhelm your hospital system. That is what happened in Italy. That was our great fear here in New York. But that is a very real situation that people have to watch from.

Smart means learning from the mistakes of others. We're not the first one down this path. Study what China did and South Korea did and Germany did. Look at what's happening in the other states and inform your actions by what happened in other places that went through this same process and you'll see many of the other places rushed reopening and actually had to backtrack and then close again. That's the last thing that we would want here in New York.

Smart means regional management, local government managed and engaged and citizen participation because this all turns on what people do. This is not about government. Government can offer advice and suggestions and guidance but it's about what people do. Why did we turn the curve in New York? Because people acted responsibly and intelligently.

And we also have to do it in a way that is totally transparent. I want every New Yorker to know all the facts because it's up to New Yorkers. It's up to the people and how they respond. Then give them the information and trust their judgment. Trust their judgment. What did we learn here? That when people are informed of facts that they actually believe, which is saying something, but if you give them the real facts that they believe a real facts and not political facts, not partisan facts, not spin, not hype, not some rhetoric from a politician who's trying to get something for themselves. If you give them the real facts they will respond intelligently but you have to give them the real facts and that's transparency. That's what smart means and that's what we're doing here in New York.

All the facts are on the website. All the facts for your region are on the website. You know exactly what I know. I don't know anything more than I am telling the people of the State of New York and you can see the changes in your region. Capital District in New York changed overnight. You can see the changes in the direction in your region.

And then what are we doing? We have our hand on the reopening valve and we're turning the reopening valve and we're starting to reopen. But we're calibrating it and we're monitoring it. The first monitoring device is the diagnostic testing - positive or negative. People need to go. People need to be tested. We have more tests than ever. We're testing more than any other state in the United States. We've come up to speed faster than any other state. People have to take the test. We have it available in drive throughs, in pharmacies, and you watch that testing rate day to day to see if the testing rate is going up, more people testing positive. Then once you test then comes you're tracing, then comes your isolation operation, et cetera.

Second monitoring device as you're doing antibody testing. The antibody testing tells you how many people have had the virus and have recovered from the virus. There is a little lag in the antibody testing because it's really telling you who was infected 2 weeks ago or 2.5 weeks ago. But if you see that number going up you know more people have gotten infected. You then have the hospitalization rate which is very important. You know every day now because of the system we put in place how many people walked into a hospital with COVID. Watch that hospitalization rate. If you see the hospitalization rate going up, you have a problem. And watch the hospitalization rate in terms of the capacity of the hospitals. That's what we've been dealing with for the past 2 months. We've said you have to have a 30 percent buffer in the capacity of hospitals. So, if that infection spikes you have a 30 percent buffer in terms of capacity. But watch that hospitalization rate and they will then give you the infection rate - the RT. They will tell you, those gauges will tell you the rate of transmission from one person to another person. And if one person is infecting more than 1 of the person, 1.1, that's the outbreak that Dr. Fauci was talking about. And you can compute these rates, you can monitor exactly what you are doing. There is a science to this and there is a methodology to this that erases all the theories, right?

Everybody has a theory. "I think this. I think that I think that. I think warm weather is going to make a difference. I think God is going to do something." Yes, I know everybody has a theory. Just tell me the facts. Tell me the numbers and that's what I want to tell the people of this state. And respond to the facts, local region then manages this system. They monitor those numbers we're talking about. They control that valve. They make sure businesses are complying with the safety precautions when the businesses go back. Every business is going to say "don't worry, don't worry, I'll have safety precautions, I'll socially distance, I'll give equipment." Yes, are they actually doing that? Are we staying away from large gatherings? Are we making sure? That's up to the local government.

And then built in is circuit breaker that when those gauges hit red turn off the valve. Hopefully you don't get to that point because you have been monitoring, and you calibrate, and you adjust the valve a little bit at the time. But worst-case scenario you turn off of that. That's what other countries have had to do when they open that reopening too quickly. No other state had this accurate or transparent a monitoring mechanism. But I want people to know exactly what is going on in your community day to day because you are the ones who are determining what happens in your community - nobody else. No governor, no senator, no elected official, it's what people do. It's what our neighbors do. The regional control group are the top elected officials, academic officials, top health care professionals in that region in that community, and they're the ones who are going to have to make it work. But this will be online every morning or every day and everyone can see exactly what is happening literally day to day. No other state has the system. No other state is as transparent. No other state is gathering local data so it can present data state wide every day. We're doing it because the secret of our success has been exactly this. The secret of our success, the one thing I did right, was communicate to people and trust people that with the right information they will might make the right decisions. This is the most advanced way in the nation to give people, to give citizens, the information they need to lead their lives correctly. And that will that will be online in the next couple of days. But Friday is May 15th is the opening date and this will be online.

To act smartly, right. We all have heard Washington say many, many times the governors are in charge of reopening. Thank you very much. So, the governors are in charge of reopening, but that doesn't mean the states are on their own, the governors are on their own. We need federal help. We need federal assistance and they're talking about passing a piece of legislation in Washington this week. It has to be a smart piece of legislation this time. What does that mean? No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork, and no partisanship. Sometimes, there has to be a time in history when the federal government is willing to stop playing partisan politics. And if it's not through this experience, through this crisis, it will never be. That's the first definition of smart for the federal government. The bill has the fund state and local governments. It has to fund working families. It has to fund state testing and tracing.

Everybody talks about testing and tracing. It's up to testing tracing. It is, no one has done it before. No state has this testing capacity. No state has this tracing capacity. We have to build it. We can do it, but it's a heck of a logistical endeavor and we need funding to do it. And we need a real economic stimulus. This economy has been damaged through no fault of anyone. Through an act of God with this covid virus. But to get this economy back up and running we're going to need an intelligent stimulus bill from Washington.

When I say no pork barrel, what does that mean? When they pass a piece of legislation in Washington every senator sees it as their opportunity to bring home bacon to their state. This is supposed to be about the covid virus and repairing damage from the covid virus. Keep it about the covid virus. Last bill when they did it, they were talking about providing money to states that didn't really have a major covid problem. So, how would the state spend the money? They were talking about building a new state capital in some states, because they didn't have enough covid cases to justify the federal allocation. So, they were looking for ways to spend the money. How ludicrous is that, right? This is somebody's money. This is a tax payers' money. They worked hard. They're willing to help solve the problem of covid, but keep it about the covid virus.

Second, I understand businesses need to recover. This doesn't have to be a giveaway to the rich millionaires who are doing just fine anyway. And it doesn't have to be a giveaway to big business. It shouldn't be that another episode in history where somehow the rich figure out a way to get more assistance. When it's supposed to be about helping average Americans and that's the people who really need help here, are the working families. Families that go paycheck to paycheck. They're the ones who are struggling and the essential workers who have been so great for so long. Police officers, firefighters, nurses, school teachers. The people who literally need food. I mean, I have people literally saying, "I need food to feed my family." We have unprecedented demand at food banks. Those are the people who really need help and those are the people who our state government funds.

New York State, we know what happened to our economy. We know what our budget looks like. We need $61 billion in federal support or we will wind up aggravating the situation, because when you don't fund the state, who does the state fund? State funds schools, local governments, and hospitals. You really want New York State to turn around and have to cut schools and cut local governments? You know who local governments are? That's police, firefighters. You want me to cut hospitals? Hospitals are the nurses and the doctors who just got us through this and everyone celebrates as heroes. If you don't fund the state that's who you're cutting in terms of finances. Now, this is not a red issue, blue issue. Yes, I'm a Democrat, but this is not about politics. I have Democrats, I have Republicans in my state. I have Independents, I have short people, I have tall people. In New York, we have everything. If you're going to be an effective statewide leader, forget red and blue. It does not work, and every state, red states, blue states, they all need funding. You put the governor's in charge, the states are heading the reopening, they need funds to do it. There's an organization called the national Governors Association, NGA. Democratic and Republican governors. It's headed by a Republican governor, Governor Hogan. I'm the vice chairman, I'm a Democrat. We do a joint statement today, saying states need funding, and not pork barrel funding and not funding that flows through the states but gets to their special interests. That's not what we want. We want funding to allow us to do our job. Democrats and Republicans working together are going to make this statement, and Washington should listen.

The federal bill should also be responsive to working families. What are the problems that working families are facing? They come to me with? "I can't pay my rent. I can't pay my mortgage. I'm afraid that once this forbearance period ends, the bank is going to send me 3-months' worth of mortgage payments, I'm not going to be able to pay. I'm afraid that once this forbearance period ends. I'm going to get a bill for 3 months of back-rent, and I can't pay it and I'm going to be evicted." That's what real families are talking about now. They're afraid that they're not going to get their jobs back. The funeral costs for families - funeral costs are devastating. That's reality for working families and your homeowners in the state and many of the states affected by COVID Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Michigan. Same state that have to go COVID problem, that just were have been additional tax from Washington when they repealed what's called SALT - state and local tax deduction. It was a theft by Washington to increase taxes on certain states - New York is one of them, Massachusetts is one, California's one. And it hurt homeowners, because you can't deduct your state and local taxes anymore. It was punitive. It was political. It was wrong. You want to help taxpayers? You want to help homeowners? You want to help the places that were hit by COVID? Repeal SALT, and that's what should be done in this bill.

And you also have to fund state testing and tracing. We can put together the operation. It's not going to be easy. It's going to entail thousands of people in this state to test and trace. But we need funding from Washington to make that happen. And if you want to be creative and aggressive and smart, what we need more than ever, the bill shouldn't just reopen America. Now was a chance to actually reimagine America, okay? You need to stimulate the economy. You need to create jobs. You need to get people back to work. Now is the time to invest in building and rebuilding. Invest in public infrastructure. Build airports, bridges, mass transit. Build a public health infrastructure so we can handle a situation like this next time.

The investment in public infrastructure is long overdue. They've talked about this for years. There are dozens and dozens of reports that will talk about the bad shape of our roads and our bridges and how bad our airports are compared to international airports and we haven't built a new airport in the country in 25 years? While all the other countries are building new airports? Now is our time to do it. Every president - Democrats, Republicans they have all said the same thing. "Our public infrastructure is crumbling. We need to create jobs. We should invest in public infrastructure." Now is the time to do it. And if not now, when? If you can't agree on a stimulus for the economy to rebuild this country today, when are you ever going to do it?

Last point on this, no bail out boondoggles. Do not betray the American people again. Why do I say again? Because I went through the 2008 bail out, which was the bail out for the banks after the mortgage crisis. I went through that. They bailed out the banks. You know what the banks did? They gave it to their employees and they got rich. You know who paid the bill? The American taxpayer paid the bill and the homeowner paid the bill when the equity in their home disappeared overnight. Everybody said oh, we can't let the banks fail so the taxpayers had to bail out the banks. The banks turned around and gave bonuses to their executives. I know because I was the Attorney General of New York at the time. I had to try to clean up the mess. I had to go after the banks for the bail out that Washington gave them that they were giving in multimillion dollar bonuses to their executives. The same executives who had created the mortgage scams in the first place. Don't do it again.

I'll tell you today what the new scam is going to be. The new scams is going to be these corporations are going to use this pandemic to lay off workers. That is what they're going to do. They're already saying it. They do these analyst calls where they tell the analysts why their stock value is going to go up. What they're saying is we're not going to hire the same amount of workers. We're going to rehire fewer workers, our profit margin goes up, our dividend goes up, our stock value goes up.

Yeah, except the American workers are left on the beach. That's what they are going to do. Mark my words today. I want to propose a law that's very simple: Americans First. Americans first. Not America first, Americans first. Protect the worker. Corporation wants a bail out? Corporation wants money? Fine. But if you do not rehire the same number of employees, give the money back. If you do not rehire the same number of employees, no government gift and bail out for you. That's the Americans First law. Very simple but undeniable.

I've spoken to a number of members of the Congressional delegation for New York. They're going to propose the Americans First law. No bail out boondoggles. I'm excited about that. I've also spoken to the Congressional delegation about what I just talked to you about, what we need in this bill. What the state and local governments need, what working families need, and I believe our delegation actually has an opportunity to lead the way. It's not just New York that's tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving, but we have a federal government that gives us a United States of America that is tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving.

Let me leave you with one point of personal opinion. Yesterday - personal opinion so it's worth what you're paying for it and since you're not paying for it, it's easy. Yesterday I went for a walk with my daughter - I had to take the dog for a walk. Even the dog is getting a little out of sorts. I think he has COVID virus himself, the dog.

So, we take the dog for a walk with my daughter, Michaela. She's my young one, she's 22 years old. So, we're going for a walk and everybody's wearing masks and a lot of people wearing gloves, which is very smart. One fellow says to me, "I wear the gloves because when I wear gloves I don't touch my face as much." Which is interesting because you don't want to touch your face, right? You don't want to touch your mouth, your noses, your eyes even.

So, it's a pleasant day, going for a pleasant walk. We come across one fellow who is not wearing a mask. I said something to the gentleman about the mask. We started to have a discussion about wearing masks and not wearing masks. And we were in a little bit of a disagreement, and the conversation got a little tense so I stopped the conversation because otherwise I'd get a lecture from my 22-year-old Michaela. I don't lecture Michaela, Michaela does lecture me. So, I let it alone, and we finished the walk and it was all very nice. Not that she gave me any credit for leaving the conversation alone.

But, I did want to make a point to that gentleman that I didn't get to make, but it's a sort of a universal point. People send me masks now, and some really beautiful masks. Some are personalized, this one says Governor Cuomo, was made for me. Some say New York Tough, beautiful colors. I have masks sent to me from sports teams, I have Buffalo Bills masks, I have a Giants, Jets, Mets, Yankees mask. This one sent to me says E Pluribus Unum, which I love. Out of many, one. But, any mask, even if it says nothing, it does say something. Doesn't have words on it, but it makes a statement.

When you wear a mask, you say, I respect you. That's what the mask says to everyone you walk past. I respect you. I respect you. I respect your health, I respect your privacy, I respect your space, I respect you. I can do anything I want with myself. This is America. But I respect you. And out of respect for you, I wear this mask. This mask says I respect the nurses and the doctors who killed themselves through this virus to save other people. And I respect the nurses and the doctors, so I'm not going to infect anyone, or allow anyone else to be infected unnecessarily so I don't cause more stress on the nurses and the doctors. This mask says, I respect the essential workers who get up every day, and drive the bus, or drive the train, or deliver the food, or keep the lights on so that I can stay home and I can stay safe. It says I respect others. And I respect you. And that is a statement that we should all be willing to make any day. But especially in the middle of this. Yes, I want individuals to be informed so they make the right decision, but it's about us at the end of the day, right. It's a mindset that says it's not about me, it's about we. And we have reciprocal responsibilities, and a collective and a mutuality that says, I'm going to respect you, and help you, and you're going to help me, and respect me. That's how your battle community spread, with community unity. That's what the mask says.

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