The fate of New York’s schools, hospitals and local governments rests on the Senate’s vote on the $3 trillion HEROES Act relief bill that the House of Representatives passed Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
If the bill passes virtually as-is, Cuomo said, New York state will be able to get out of a massive $61 billion budget hole. The HEROES Act would also pour additional resources into the Empire State to assist families through another round of stimulus payments, increased unemployment benefits, student loan and mortgage relief, and expanded SNAP benefits for low-income residents.
But if the Senate doesn’t approve the act, Cuomo warned, “there will be cuts” to state government — all of which would devastate education and medical programs, as well as local governments. The local cuts, he noted, would impact vital services such as police and fire departments.
Beyond that, the governor suggested, the Senate would abandon its moral authority if they killed the HEROES Act.
“It would be so ludicrous to have taken the actions they have taken — where they’re funding big business, small businesses, airlines, hotels — but then to not help schools and police and firefighters and give people food who are starving and need SNAP?” Cuomo said. “How can you ever justify that on a moral, basis, an ethical basis, a legal basis? How would you ever justify that?”
Cuomo again took umbrage with partisan politics in Washington, and railed against the talking point among Republican lawmakers who claim that the HEROES Act amounts to a “blue state bailout.”
“Shame on you to look at the death toll in this nation and say [you’d] want to count how many people passed away by their political party [and are] more interested in states where Republicans live than where Democrats live,” the governor said.
Cuomo said he’s spoken with New York’s entire Congressional delegation, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, ad nauseum about the importance of getting the HEROES Act passed.
“I’ve spoken to everyone about the bill to such an extent that, I think, none of our federal representatives want to talk to me about it anymore,” he added. “I’ve made it clear how important it is and what will happen to the state budget if it’s not passed. In many ways, they are in control of the state budget this year.”
This story first appeared on amny.com.