Cuomo’s declaration of being above partisanship—and acting in full partnership with the President—came just hours after the Governor found time for four TV appearances within an hour, during which he directly criticized Trump, claiming the President was “acting like a king” and a dictator and called the President’s coronavirus response “schizophrenic” and “a comedy skit”. “We don’t have a king in this country,” Cuomo said. “We didn’t want a king. So we have a constitution and elect a president.”
Governor Cuomo also continued to be critical of the share of federal funds that New York received in the first three federal stimulus packages. New York State is in line for billions of federal assistance but Cuomo has complained those funds can only be used to fight the virus rather than to plug New York’s deepening revenue holes, predicted to be as much as $15 billion. Although Cuomo has not given a specific number for how much he thinks New York should receive, he has continually pointed to a request from the National Governors Association (of which Cuomo is Vice-Chair) for $500 billion in federal funding for states most impacted by the virus.
The day before President Trump was set to announce his Coronavirus Task Force (charged with leading the national response to the pandemic and establishing guidelines for reopening the economy), governors of several states in both the Northeast—New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island—and on the West Coast—California, Oregon and Washington—announced they would be creating their own work groups to develop a coordinated response for lifting their states’ stay-at-home orders. President Trump’s proceeded to claim that he has total authority over any such initiative but later backed off that, instead announcing guidelines for how the nation’s governors should carry out the reopening of their communities on their own timetables.
This was only the first in this week’s series of Trump vs. Governors clashes.
More recently, Trump encouraged protests against social distancing restrictions in states with stay-at-home orders, by tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA!”— three states whose Democratic governors have imposed strict social distancing restrictions. Michigan is particularly interesting as Gov. Whitmer has emerged as a leading candidate in the Joe Biden Veep-Stakes.
It is likely that certain states will reopen before others, according to their particular situations. However, new estimates by researchers at Harvard University suggest that the country cannot safely reopen unless it significantly increases testing over the next month. Governor Cuomo has introduced the idea of New York reopening in phases, with more “essential” and “infection-safe” businesses opening first, and possibly limiting restrictions on certain regions of the State.
“The president of the United States calls the shots.” ~ President Donald Trump
On the details, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there will be $300 billion for the PPP, $50 billion for EIDL, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing. He added, “I think we’re making a lot of progress […] I’m hopeful that we can reach an agreement, that the Senate can pass this tomorrow, and that the House can take it up on Tuesday, and, Wednesday, we’d be back up and running.”
It is more likely that, even if there is an agreement, it passes towards the end of the week or over next weekend. Congressional Leaders announced that the House and Senate are not expected to return prior to May 4th except to pass emergency legislation, in which event Members and Senators were notified that they would be given 24 hours notice to return to Washington.
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Buffalo firm Circuit Clinical, founded by cardiologist Dr. Irfan Khan, has developed a COVID-19 working group with clinical trials and biotech expertise. He is also studying how best to use the company’s decentralized network of research sites to help identify patients in multiple locations. [Read more.]