By Janet Ekstract
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled no punches when he reiterated in his Wednesday daily briefing that funding for states and local governments has turned into a “political brawl led by Senator Mitch McConnell.” The governor posed the question as to why partisanship and politics take precedence over the loss of lives across America? Cuomo accused McConnell of partisanship, saying: “He’s a Republican so he doesn’t want to help the Democratic states.” In reference to a statement McConnell had put out a week ago, that states should just declare bankruptcy – Cuomo responded: “States can’t go bankrupt, there are serious constitutional questions on whether states can declare bankruptcy.” The governor added: “You need a federal law in order for states to declare bankruptcy. To make it partisan is what is most disturbing.” He also added that no state has ever in the history of America declared bankruptcy and said quite bluntly: “I dare you” to pass a law that allows states to go bankrupt.
The point Cuomo and numerous governors have made is simple: the federal government has refused to accept its responsibility to states under the American Constitution. That means not providing necessary medical equipment, protective gear and funding so all states could be prepared to combat the coronavirus. Cuomo emphasized that by responding: “It’s ‘we’ and it’s ‘them’, who is ‘we’ and who is ‘them’?” “What an ugly sentiment,” Cuomo retorted and added: “First of all, on the facts, it’s not even close to right.” He continued: “The facts damn everything they’re saying. New York State bails them out every year – New York State pays 29 billion more into that federal pot every year that we never get back.” Cuomo also stressed: “On the other hand, they take out every year 37 billion dollars more (referring to Kentucky, McConnell’s state) than they pay the government.” Then Cuomo asked the obvious question: “Senator Mitch McConnell who’s bailing out whom, Florida takes out 30 billion more than you pay in.”
As Cuomo has reiterated in numerous briefings, New York State is at a $15B loss and is basically broke as he said most states are. He said the federal government keeps saying “don’t worry” the money will be in the next stimulus bill but Cuomo said: “I’m worried, I’m very worried.” He added: “How dare they when those are the facts. How long are you going to play the American people. What this is really about is ‘Washington Speak’,” because he said the federal government is more concerned with padding big business than it is about paying the American worker. Cuomo added: “I want to fund food banks, the police, firefighters, teachers, social services.” He concluded: “They want to fund corporate America and I say let’s fund working Americans. It’s just smoke and mirrors to avoid having the American people see the reality.” Cuomo said that “saying Thank You is nice, how about actually rewarding them and making their lives easier.”
To that end, Cuomo explained that he wants to find solutions to issues that have been plaguing New York City for decades. One major issue on the agenda is the New York City transit system and the plight of the homeless who Cuomo said are currently residing in New York City subways. Cuomo said: “Homeless have taken over the subways. If you let homeless people stay on the trains during a pandemic with no protective equipment, it isn’t helping them.” He said he told the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that he wants a full plan on how to disinfect every train every night by tomorrow. He said that the NYPD and the MTA had been going ‘back and forth’ on the homeless issue for weeks. Cuomo said the homeless need to be housed in shelters and given access to social services to get their lives back on track. He added: “No one wants to live on a subway train,” and said he will do whatever it takes to resolve the issue but that people need to step up and start telling the truth about problems. Cuomo said transit workers deserve better. He added: “We owe it to them to be able to say the train you ride, the bus you ride is disinfected and clean.”
A major key to moving forward as Cuomo has always emphasized is testing and he stressed that essential workers come first, including healthcare workers, police, firefighters, transit workers and all those on the frontlines. The governor said the testing is now ramped up to 30,000 tests a day which he labeled a “dramatic increase” but added “we have more to do.” Cuomo explained that for hospitals in areas that don’t have a fear of a COVID surge, they’ll be able to do elective surgeries. Cuomo said he had only deep heartfelt thanks for essential workers, frontline workers and first responders. As he shared: “I’m out there everyday, forget me, I’ll tell you who’s out there everyday, those are the frontline workers risking their lives doing the work – compared to them, what I do is diminimis.” Priority testing is for these workers Cuomo stated and said that so far 10.5 percent of the New York Police Department (NYPD) tested positive for the virus while 17 percent of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) tested positive for the virus.
Governor Cuomo asked: “You can’t stop the politics in this moment even in this moment when people are dying all across the country?” He added: “If there ever was going to be a one moment to hit the pause button, the moment would be now.” Cuomo asked again: “When does it stop? And the disconnect is between the political leadership and the people.” He said: “Americans are the ones who help each other in crisis. We are good neighbors, we care about one another.” The governor spoke about the kindness and giving as well as heartfelt thoughts from Americans all across the country when he unveiled a colorful, mural collage of medical face masks sent by different Americans from across the country to show support to New York. He said: “This is what this country is about and this is what Americans are about.” Cuomo added: “America was when I said we need help in our emergency rooms and hospitals and 95,000 doctors and nurses from across the nation said ‘we’ll come to help.’ That’s America, that’s who we are, that’s who we have shown ourselves to be.” He added: “I just hope the political leadership of this nation understands how good we are as a people. Sometimes the people lead and the politicians follow and that’s where we are today. Politicians should try to be half as good as the American people.”