Governors Request $500 Billion For Budget Shortfalls From Virus

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U.S. governors are urging Congress to give states $500 billion in “stabilization funding” to meet budget shortfalls resulting from their efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Maryland’s Larry Hogan and New York’s Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday that the state-at-home orders most states have implemented were necessary to protect the public but hurt states’ economies.

Hogan, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, are chairman and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Governors Association.

“To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states,” the pair said.

Hogan and Cuomo said Congress should appropriate an additional $500 billion for all states and territories.

Without the funding, states may have to reduce critical services, which will only hamper public health efforts and economic recovery from the pandemic, they said.

Stimulus Debate

The request arrives as some Democratic governors have criticized the Trump administration for what they said is a failure to provide adequate supplies and policies to address the public health crisis.

Democrats in Congress have demanded $150 billion for state and local governments in the latest leg of the stimulus plan, as well as funds for hospitals. Republicans insist the measure now being negotiated be limited to $250 billion for small business loans.

Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California, said Saturday on Fox News that the Republican effort was “just a plus-up” of the small-business program but Democrats want it loaded up “with a lot more junk.”

President Donald Trump said Friday he’s “certainly OK with helping the states and helping the hospitals” but would rather do it in the expected next phase of his administration’s economic response.

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