From THE HILL:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing blowback from across the political spectrum after he suggested states should be able to declare bankruptcy as they face severe budget holes sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.
But McConnell sparked his own political firestorm when, in response to a question from radio host Hugh Hewitt, he said he supported letting states declare bankruptcy and positioned Republicans as cautious of providing them with additional federal relief.
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“The last thing we need in the middle of an economic crisis is to have states filing bankruptcy all across America and not able to provide services to people who desperately need them,” [Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan said]. “I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to … convince Sen. McConnell that maybe he shouldn’t let all the states go bankrupt.”
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who is retiring, called McConnell the “Marie Antoinette of the Senate.”
Unlike the federal government, which has borrowed trillions to help fund its coronavirus relief efforts, every state but Vermont has a requirement to maintain a balanced budget. Current law doesn’t allow states to declare bankruptcy.
“This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said during his press briefing Thursday.
GOP senators were largely mum on Thursday on if states should be allowed to declare bankruptcy.
But some GOP senators echoed McConnell’s concerns.
“NY and other left wing states have been terribly mismanaged for years. Kowtowing to labor unions by approving generous taxpayer funded benefits in exchange for votes has left them with billion dollar shortfalls. Blame yourself @NYGovCuomo, not @senatemajldr,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted.
Lauren Aronson, a spokeswoman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), noted that Congress has already passed a “significant” amount of assistance related to the coronavirus.
“Sen. Cruz has expressed concerns that allowing states to use that relief to prop up their underfunded pension plans would be a windfall paid – in part – by taxpayers from more fiscally prudent states like Texas. He instead believes these funds should be directed towards new, coronavirus-related expenditures and also to ensuring resources for vital law enforcement responsibilities,” she added.