House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back against claims by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that Congress’ new COVID-19 relief measure isn’t providing New York with enough financial aid.
In a letter to the Emmy Award-winning governor, Pelosi said that the relief package “addressed” New York’s ballooning budget deficits, which critics say were made worse by sustained coronavirus lockdowns imposed by Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).
The letter “is a rare rebuke considering the close political alliance of Pelosi and Cuomo,” the Times-Union, which managed to obtain a copy, reported Friday.
The Speaker “strongly rebuts the idea that New York is being shortchanged” in the new relief package, which she helped put together with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the paper added.
“Overall, New York state will receive over $50 billion in state and local funding, and more than $20 billion in additional funding to support families’ health, financial security and well-being,” Pelosi wrote, according to the Times-Union.
The California Democrat’s correspondence referenced billions of taxpayer dollars that will be given to New York that include funding for Medicaid, local governments, local health agencies, education, small businesses, and homelessness, among other line items.
“We sadly observe over 1.5 million coronavirus cases, nearly 45,000 deaths, and hundreds of thousands of job losses in New York,” Pelosi noted.
“Please know that your concerns are being addressed in ways that you have advanced and with the enthusiastic advocacy of Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand,” New York’s other senator, who is also a Democrat.
Pelosi reportedly sent the letter to New York’s Democratic House delegation after they sent one to her last week asking for more funding for their state. Their letter was in response to one from Cuomo who demanded at least $15 billion “in direct relief for state government and pushing them to route federal aid to schools and hospitals” in the state, the Times-Union reported.
Fox News reported, however, that the bill actually contains $50 billion for New York as well as $20 billion to “support families’ health, financial security and well-being.”
Cuomo met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Friday at the White House, along with governors and mayors from around the country, the paper said.
“There is no distribution formula for that $350 billion that does not get the state of New York $15 billion which is fair, in my opinion,” Cuomo said earlier this week. “This state was ambushed by COVID; it came here for three months and no one told us because the federal government failed. We were subjected and victimized by federal negligence.”
Though he has often blamed others, Cuomo has been widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic, from not preparing New York adequately for such an emergency to his order in March 2020 directing state nursing homes to accept COVID-19-infected patients, in spite of evidence that elderly, sicker patients were far more susceptible to dying from the disease.
To the latter, calls to investigate and even criminally charge Cuomo and members of his administration ramped up earlier this week after the New York Post reported comments Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa made to state Democrats suggesting that the governor hid the number of nursing home coronavirus deaths out of fear the Trump administration would prosecute.
“[Trump] starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes. He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer,” she said, according to an audio of the conversation shared with The Post.
The former president then “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us,” DeRosa said, adding the Cuomo administration “froze.”
“Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” she reportedly noted. “That played a very large role in this.
“So we do apologize,” DeRosa reportedly added. “I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
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