Politics

Cuomo says Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus bill would be 'terrible' for New York

Key Points
  • The Senate's massive stimulus bill to combat the impact of the coronavirus doesn't provide nearly enough for New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  • The $2 trillion bill "would really be terrible for the State of New York," Cuomo said at a press conference.
  • Cuomo's criticism came as White House officials made clear that President Trump planned to sign the massive relief bill into law as soon as Congress sends it to his desk.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in New York.
John Minchillo | AP

The Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill may be the largest rescue package in U.S. history, but it doesn't provide nearly enough for New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The bill, tentatively approved early Wednesday, "would really be terrible for the state of New York," Cuomo said at his daily briefing in Albany.

Cuomo's criticism came as White House officials made clear that President Donald Trump plans to sign the massive relief bill into law as soon as Congress sends it to him.

Cuomo said the bill provides $3.8 billion for New York State, of which only $1.3 billion will be sent to New York City.

"Sounds like a lot of money," Cuomo said. But it's far below the shortfall in revenue that the state projects it will face, which the governor said could total $15 billion.

"That is a drop in the bucket" compared with what New Yorkers need, he said. "How do you plug a $15 billion hole with $3.8 billion? You don't."

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Cuomo's spokeswoman Dani Lever suggested in a statement later Wednesday that the Senate bill would give New York even less than what the governor initially outlined.

"Based on initial reports, New York State government gets approximately $3.1 billion," Lever said in the statement. "As a percent of our total state budget – 1.9% – it is the second lowest amount in the nation."

"The gross political manipulation is obvious," Lever said. "Compounding this inequity is the fact that New York State contributes more to the federal government than any other state in the nation. It is just another case of politics over sound policy."

New York has become the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

More than 30,000 COVID-19 cases have been counted across the state as of Wednesday morning, accounting for more than half of all confirmed cases in the country. New York City may close parks, playgrounds and some streets to reduce density in the latest effort to contain the virus, the governor said Wednesday.

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"In life, you do what you have to do," he said.

The White House and leaders of both parties in the Senate reached the stimulus deal around 1:30 a.m. following days of partisan debate in Congress and numerous late-night negotiating sessions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his chamber will vote and pass the legislation later Wednesday, though the final details of the bill were still being ironed out by the early afternoon. A senior Democratic aide told CNBC procedural hurdles made it unlikely the House will vote on the bill until Thursday at the earliest. 

Amid the back-and-forth over the provisions this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her own proposal, which laid out the Democrats' agenda and was criticized by Republicans as an ideological wish list.

Cuomo, however, said Pelosi's plan would have provided more for New York than the current bill in the Senate.

"We need more federal help than this bill gives us. The House bill would have given us $17 billion. The Senate bill gives us $3 billion," Cuomo said. "That's a dramatic, dramatic difference."

Trump and Cuomo, a Democrat, have been in close coordination amid New York's sharp rise in cases — and each has alternated between being deferential with each other and feuding about their efforts to combat the virus.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday morning that Trump is aware of the contents of the Senate's bill and is eager to sign it.

"He's been pushing for Congress to do the right thing and get ready help the American people. So we're really looking forward to this vote today so that he can sign it into law," Grisham said on Fox News.

-- CNBC's William Feuer and Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report.

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