Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a letter to President Trump calling on him to use his influence and force Congress to ensure the next COVID-19 stimulus package includes real financial relief for American families, states and localities. The Governor also called on the President to forge a compromise on corporate liability limitations. If the President does not step in and act now to help the nation withstand, and begin recovering from, the COVID-19 pandemic, his lasting legacy will be as a President who allowed the national economy to crumble, while impeding the ability of states to quickly and efficiently distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
The full text of the letter is below:
December 19, 2020
Dear Mr. President,
Time is short. Congress must act on the COVID-19 bill in the next 48 hours. Let’s “talk New York.” New Yorkers can speak in frank, bottom-line terms. While some may call it “blunt,” it is effective and frankly a welcome relief to a public confused and frustrated by Washington’s circular hyperbole and rhetoric. Let’s also put aside principle and policy concerns and consider your own reputation and legacy.
This is your last act. You will sign this COVID legislation and be accountable for its results. President-Elect Joe Biden’s first act will be repairing the damage done in your last act.
Senator McConnell is irrelevant. You control the Republican Party, as was just demonstrated by the Texas lawsuit against democracy. You will decide and be held accountable for the consequences of this urgently-needed COVID legislation.
There are only three real issues between the parties at the end of the day: and we are at the end of the day. The American people need financial assistance to make it through the end of the year. Republican families need these relief checks as much as Democratic families. Struggling American families during the holidays transcends even deeply drawn party lines.
The Republicans want corporate liability limitations to protect businesses from the COVID risk. As usual, the Republicans go too far, and are essentially asking for blanket corporate liability protection. There is a reasonable compromise to be reached, and you could negotiate it in two phone calls.
The third issue is funding for state and local governments. The Republicans don’t want to provide state and local governments relief because the states that need help now are largely Democratic states. This is just dumb – with the COVID numbers exploding, Republican states will also need help. COVID rates will keep rising for weeks, and the Republican states are already suffering. Senator McConnell saying “bankrupt the states” would lead to “bankrupting the nation.” If New York, California, Michigan, Illinois and other Democratic states stumble financially, it will hurt the national economy, and you will be to blame.
In addition, without state and local funding, the vaccine distribution process will be delayed. You will be held accountable for that delay, which will lead to more deaths and make the federal vaccine program a debacle. Remember, the federal vaccine program now amounts to the delivery of a FedEx box to the front door of the state. The state must then distribute the vaccine. If states are forced to lay off essential workers, who is going to provide the administration of the vaccination? Santa is busy this time of year.
More Americans will die from COVID than died during World War II. And a failed vaccine program will be the culmination of 10 months of federal failure in managing the COVID crisis. We know what will happen and can see the historic analysis: Pfizer developed the vaccine, the Federal government didn’t buy enough, and then you defunded states so that the vaccine couldn’t be administered. That will be the outcome.
And make no mistake, this will be damage done by you, and it will be undeniable and obvious. President-Elect Biden will be cleaning up the mess you created for the first year of his term, and possibly longer. Your “friends” in the Republican Party will even turn on you once you are out of office. Political loyalty dissipates faster than ice in Florida. American families not receiving checks will be personal tragedies that people will understand. National economic turmoil caused by failed state economies, an incompetent federal vaccine program, and more American deaths are the realities you are facing. Indeed, if you are right, and politics is akin to show business, remember that Scrooge was never loved, watching Americans die never earned anyone high ratings, and national recessions are not produced by successful television businessmen, or hosts of The Apprentice. You are about to exit the stage, and the audience always remembers the close.
It’s up to you.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo