Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) said federal lawmakers have a “moral” and “ethical” obligation to provide emergency relief to states amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: So, the position of the White House seems to be that any money for states would be premature. What’s your response, sir?
NEWSOM: Well, it’s not charity. I mean, a year ago, Jake, we were running a $21.5 billion surplus. And here we are at $54.3 billion budget deficit that is directly COVID- induced. We have been managing our budget effectively, efficiently, paying down our long-term pension obligations. We had a bond rating that went up twice last year, the highest in decades. So, we’re not looking for charity. We’re not looking for handouts. It’s social responsibility, at a time when states not just California, large and small, all across this country, cities, and counties, large and small, all across this country are facing unprecedented budgetary stress. It is incumbent upon the federal government to help support these states through this difficult time.
TAPPER: Well, the House passed a bill on Friday night with money for states, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested it’s dead on arrival. Can you explain what you think will happen to California if the federal government doesn’t give you money to help you out?
NEWSOM: Well, these same folks that say it’s dead on arrival, I hope they will consider this. The next time they want to salute and celebrate our heroes, our first responders, our police officers, and firefighters, consider the fact that they are the first ones that will be laid off by cities and counties. The folks that are out there, the true heroes of this pandemic are health care workers and nurses. Those county health systems have been ravaged. Their budgets have been devastated and depleted. Their budget counts depleted since this pandemic. They’re the first ones to be laid off. So, we have got to square our rhetoric with the reality. Twenty percent of Americans are unemployed. In a few weeks, over 100,000 Americans will have lost their lives. These are Depression-era unemployment numbers, and we have to own up to that. So, I’m not looking to score cheap political points, but I do want to make this point, Jake. We have an obligation, a moral, an ethical obligation to American citizens all across this country to help support cities, states and counties.
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