May 27, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Calls On U.S. Senate to Pass a Coronavirus Relief Bill That Helps All Americans

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

Reiterates Call for Repeal of SALT

 

Renews Call for 'Americans First Law' Stating 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

 

Urges President Trump to Support a Real Public Infrastructure Program and Approve Infrastructure Projects in New York

 

Ninth Region Hits Benchmark to Begin Reopening Today; Long Island Joins Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, Which Have Met the Seven Metrics Required to Begin Reopening

 

Confirms 1,129 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 364,965; New Cases in 45 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "States are responsible for the enforcement of all the procedures around reopening but at the same time the federal government has a role to play and the federal government has to do its part as we work our way through this crisis. There cannot be at national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded."

 

Cuomo: "You have people saying, well don't want to pass a bill that we continue don't want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue state bailout is what some have said. ... It is an un-American response. We're still the United States of America."

 

Cuomo: "You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than they get back. ... New York pays more every year - $29 billion more - than they take back. ... People can still add and people can still subtract and they know what they put in and they know what they take out. ... My point to our friends in the Congress: Stop abusing New York. ... Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the Covid virus through no fault of their own."

WYSIWYG

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo earlier today called on the U.S. Senate to pass a coronavirus relief bill that helps all Americans and provides unrestricted fiscal support for states. 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. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that includes $500 billion for states and $375 billion for locals; Medicaid funding for the most vulnerable; increased SNAP food assistance; 100 percent FEMA federal assistance; funding for testing; and repeals SALT cap to help states most affected by COVID-19.

 

Governor Cuomo also reiterated his call for the U.S. Senate to repeal the SALT limitations. The states most impacted by COVID-19 represent more than one-third of the national GDP. They also send tens of billions of tax dollars more to the federal government than they get back, and the dollars they send are then redistributed to other states and big corporations. These very same states that have been most impacted by COVID-19, are also the states that were hit hardest by the cap on state and local taxes, the politically motivated first double tax in U.S. history that was implemented by the federal tax law in 2017.

 

The Governor also renewed his call for Congress to pass the 'Americans First Law' to help prevent corporate bailouts following the COVID-19 pandemic. First proposed by the Governor on May 10th, the legislation 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 urged President Trump to support a real public infrastructure program and to advance infrastructure projects in New York -- including the LaGuardia AirTrain, the Cross-Hudson Tunnels, and the Second Avenue Subway expansion -- to help supercharge the economy.

 

The Governor also announced that Long Island has met all seven metrics to begin phase one of reopening today, joining the Mid-Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions.

 

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

  

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here

    

PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.

   

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

 

Good afternoon. Pleasure to be here today. Let me introduce the people who are with us. To my left is Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor; to my right is Robert Mujica, Budget Director of the State of New York. We're at the National Press Club today. It's a great organization, great part of Washington's history and the legacy and I want to thank Michael Friedman very much who is the President of the National Press Club, thank him for his hospitality and courtesy for having us here today.

 

We are in Washington. I spent eight a years in Washington during the Clinton Administration. I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, came down at the beginning of the Clinton Administration, stayed until the end, lived in Virginia. That's where I got my southern accent, really southern-Queens.

 

We had good discussions today and we will be heading back but we wanted to do our brief from Washington so it was timely. Let's talk about some facts as to where we are. The number of hospitalizations in New York are dropping. The total change in hospitalizations is down and continuing to drop. The intubations are down and that's a very good sign. It is rare that good things happen after an intubation and the number of new cases is down, which is very encouraging news. These are the number of new cases that are walking through the door.

 

In terms of the number of New Yorkers that we have lost, 74 yesterday, which is just about what it was the day before, which the day before was an all-time low at 73. 74 is not as good as 73 but it is all headed in the right direction. Again, only in this time of crisis would 74 deaths be anything less than truly tragic news, but when you have gone through what we have gone through it is a sign that we are headed in the right direction and we are.

 

When you look at the curve in the State of New York, we are down. We are on the other side of the mountain, as we say, and the decline is continuing. That is different than what we are seeing in some other parts of the nation where you see the curve either going up or just starting to flatten so we are pleased with the progress that we are making in New York and we are ready to go to the next phase, open a new chapter.

 

Memorial Day is often a time when society transitions. Memorial Day normally we are getting ready for the summer and people are starting to think about summer vacations and summer activities. We have that on a moderated basis in New York but it is also a time of transition for us and we are transitioning to a new chapter on reopening, restarting the economy.

 

This is all a situation that has never happened before so this is a first case for all of us and we are trying to learn as we go along and we don't want to just reopen the economy. We want to have a really smart reopening. We want to watch those numbers as we go forward and we want to reopen the economy to make it stronger than it ever was before. How do you learn from this? That is the beginning of the new chapter that we are going to write.

 

We started yesterday by reopening the Stock Exchange in New York where the Stock Exchange actually had people in the building rather than just electronically. We are doing it on the numbers. Numbers matter. This is not about politics. This is about science. We are fighting a virus. The virus is not a Democratic virus. It is not a Republican virus. It is a virus and viruses respond to science and science is about facts and about numbers and that is how we are doing it. We are doing it on the metrics.

 

We are looking at the hospitalization rate, we are looking at the death rate, how many new people are coming into the door into hospitals, how many hospital beds do we have available, wow many ICU beds do we have available, do we have testing in place and do we have tracing in place? Just take the politics out of it, right? Just do it on the facts and do it on the science and that is what we are doing in New York and then you would not reopen everything immediately. You would do it in phases and you would phase it by the most important businesses, the most essential businesses that pose the lowest risk first. That is exactly what we are doing and we then have several phases for the actual business openings.

 

But we are in Washington and the parameter is what shouldn't states be doing and what should the federal government be doing. I understand that states are responsible for the reopening. That has been the position of the states and it has also been the position of the federal government so the states are doing reopening. States are responsible for testing. States are responsible for tracing. States are responsible for the health care system. States are responsible for the enforcement of all the procedures around reopening but at the same time the federal government has a role to play and the federal government has to do its part as we work our way through this crisis. There cannot be at national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded. That is a fact.

 

Washington is now debating their next bill that would aid in the reopening and the recovery. Prior bills have helped businesses, large businesses, small businesses, hotels, airlines, all sorts of business interests. That's great but you also have states and local governments and state governments do things like fund schools and fund hospitals. Do you really want to cut schools now? Do you really want to cut hospitals now after what we have just gone through when we are talking about a possible second wave, when we are talking about a fall with possible more cases? Do you really think we should starve state governments and cut hospitals? Would that be smart? Do you really want to cut local governments right now? That is cutting police. That is cutting fire. Is now the time to savage essential services and don't you realize that if do you this, if you cut state and local governments and you cause chaos on the state and local level, how does that help a nation striving to recover economically?

 

The Covid states, the states that bore the brunt of the Covid virus are one third of

the national GDP. How can you tell one third of the country to go to heck and then think you're going to see an economic rebound? Also, state governments, state economies, local economies, that is what the national economy is made of. What is the national economy but for a function of the states? There is no nation without the states. They tend to forget that in this town. But it is the obvious fact and we have made this mistake before.

 

Again, look at history. If you don't learn from your mistakes you are going to repeat the mistakes. It is that simple and we have seen in the past what has happened when state and local governments were savaged and how it hurt the national recovery. Wall Street Journal, not exactly a liberal publication, makes the point that on the economy cuts to employment and spending likely to weigh on growth for years. So even if you believe the rhetoric we are about reopening, we are about getting the economy back, great. Then if that is what you believe you would provide funding to the state and local governments. The Federal Reserve Chairman Powell, very smart man respected on both sides of the aisle, said we have evidence the global financial crisis in the years afterward where state and local government layoffs and lack of hiring weighed on economic growth. We want to reopen the economy. We want to get this national economy better than ever. Fine. Then act accordingly and act appropriately.

 

This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country. You have people saying, well don't want to pass a bill that we continue don't want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue state bailout is what some have said. Senator McConnell, stopping blue state bailouts. Senator Scott, we're supposed to go bail them out? That's not right. On Fox TV, Laffer, you want us to give our money to Cuomo and New York? Hello, not this week.

 

First of all, this is really an ugly, ugly sentiment. It is an un-American response. We're still the United States of America. Those words meant something. United States of America. First of all, Mr. federal legislator, you're nothing without the states, and you represent the United States. Not only is it ugly, it is false. It is wholly untrue, what they are saying, 100 percent. And there are facts, if you want to pose the question, which is, I think, divisive at this period of time.

 

But if you want to pose the question, what states give money and what states take money? Right? There is a financial equation that is the federal government. And if you want to ask, what states give money to other states and what states take money from other states, that's a question that Senator McConnell and Senator Scott and Mr. Laffer don't really want to ask, because the truth, the truth is totally the opposite of what they're saying. You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than they get back. You know the top, what they call donor state, you know what one state pays in more to the pot than they take out to the federal pot than any other state than the United States? It's the State of New York. New York pays more every year, $29 billion more, than they take back. You know the second state, New Jersey. Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, every year, they contribute more to the federal pot. You know who takes out more than they put in from that pot? You know whose hand goes in deeper and takes out than they put in? Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida. Those are the facts, those are the numbers.

 

The great irony is, the conservatives want to argue against redistribution of wealth. Why should you take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That's exactly what you are doing. That is exactly what you have done every year. So it's only redistribution unless you wind up getting more money. Then it's fine, then it's not redistribution. Take from the rich, give to the poor, that's redistribution, yes, unless you're the poor, Senator McConnell, Senator Scott because you were the ones who have your hand out. You were the ones who are taking more than others. Redistribution, you're against it, except when the richer states give you more money every year. Then the great hypocrisy, they actually make the redistribution worse when they passed three years ago a provision ending what's called state and local tax deductibility. That didn't level the playing field. 

 

What they did was they took the states that were already paying more money into the federal government, the quote, unquote richer states and they increased the money they were taking from the richer states. They took another $23 billion from California and another $14 billion from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut. The hypocrisy is so insulting because when you start to talk about numbers, there is still facts. People can still add and people can still subtract and they know what they put in and they know what they take out. 

 

I know it's Washington, D.C. but the truth actually still matters. Americans are smart and they find out the truth even in the fog and the blather of Washington, DC. My point to our friends in the Congress: Stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey. Stop abusing Massachusetts and Illinois and Michigan and Pennsylvania. Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the Covid virus through no fault of their own. Why did New York have so many cases. It's nothing about New York. It's because the virus came from Europe and no one in this nation told us. 

 

We were told the virus is coming from China. It's coming from China, look to the West. We were looking to the West it came from the East. The virus left China, went to Europe. Three million Europeans come to New York, land in our airports January, February, March and bring the virus. And nobody knew. It was not New York's job. We don't do international, global health. It didn't come from China. It came from Europe and we bore the brunt of it. Now, you want to hold that against us because we bore the brunt of a national mistake? And because we had more people die? We lost more lives and you want to now double the insult and the injury by saying, "Well, why should we help those states? Those states had more Covid deaths." That's why you're supposed to help those states because they did have more Covid deaths and this is the United States and when one state has a problem, the other states help. 

 

I was in the federal government for eight years. When Los Angeles had earthquakes, we helped. When the Midwest had the Red River floods, we helped. When Florida had Hurricane Andrew, we helped. When Texas had floods, we helped. When Louisiana had Hurricane Katrina, we helped. We didn't say "well, that is Louisiana's fault. They had the hurricane. Well, that is Texas's fault, they had the floods." It was nobody's fault. And we were there to help because that is who we are and that is what we believe. What happened to that American spirit? What happened to that concept of mutuality? You know there still a simple premise that you can't find in a book, and Washington hasn't written regulations for, called doing the right thing. There is still a right thing in life. The right thing you feel inside you. The right thing is calibration of your principle and your belief and your soul and your heart and your spirit. And we do the right thing in this country, not because a law says do the right thing, but because we believe in doing the right thing. As individuals, as people, we believe in doing right by each other, by living your life by a code where you believe you are living it in an honorable way, acting on principle, and you are doing the right thing.

 

Why can't the government? Why can't the Congress reflect the right thing principle that Americans live their life by? Pass a piece of legislation that is honorable and decent and does the right thing for all Americans. Why is that so hard? And if you want to talk about reopening the economy, then do it in a productive way. People think this economy is just going to bounce back. I don't think it is going to bounce back. I think it will bounce back for some, and I think there will be collateral damage of others. We already know that tens of thousands of small businesses closed and probably won't come back. We already know the large corporations are going to lay off thousands and thousands of workers, and they are going to use this pandemic as an excuse to get lean, to restructure, and they will boost their profits by reducing their payroll. We know it. We have been there before. We saw this in the 2008 Mortgage Crisis where the government bailed them out, the big banks that created the problem, and they used the money to pay themselves bonuses and they laid off their workers. They will do is same thing again that. That is why I propose the Americans First legislation that said a corporation can't get a dime of government bailout unless they rehire the same number of workers they had pre-pandemic as post. Don't take a gift from the taxpayer and then lay off Americans who are going to file for unemployment insurance paid for by the taxpayers. Don't do that again.

 

And if you want to be smart, we know that there is work to do in this nation. We have known it for years. You can fill a library with the number of books on the infrastructure and the decay of our infrastructure and how many roads and bridges have to be repaired, how this nation is grossly outpaced by nations across the world in terms of infrastructure, airports and development. Now is the time to stimulate the economy by doing that construction and doing that growth. You want to supercharge the reopening? That's how do you it. This nation was smart enough to do it before. We did it in the midst of the great depression. We created 8 million jobs. We built an infrastructure that we're still living on today. We're still living on the infrastructure built by our grandparents, not even our parents. What are we going to leave our children? And now is the time to do it.

 

We have major infrastructure projects in New York that are ready to go, that are desperately needed, that were desperately needed 30 years ago. Build them now. Supercharge the reopening. Grow the economy. That's what we would do if we were smart. You're not going to have a supercharged economy. You're not going to see this nation get up and start running again, unless we do it together. That's states working with other states. That's a federal government that stands up and puts everything else aside.

 

They were elected to provide good government. Nobody elected anyone to engage in partisan politics. There was a time when as a nation we were smart enough to say, "You want to play politics? That's what a campaign is for." Run your campaign against your opponent. Say all sorts of crazy things. That's crazy campaign time. But when government starts, stop the politics, and do what's right and smart. Don't play your politics at the expense of the citizens you represent. There is no good government concept anymore. It's politics 365 days a year. From the moment they're elected to the moment they run again, it's all politics. And that is poison. We have to get to a point, if only for a moment, if only for a moment, if only for a moment in response to a national crisis where we say it's not red and blue. It's red, white, and blue. It's the United States and we're going to act that way.

 

In New York we say that by saying New York tough, but it's America tough. Which is smart, and united, and disciplined, and loving, and loving.

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