Responding to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claims GOP leadership was the cause of the delay of the latest coronavirus stimulus relief, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ripped Pelosi for trying to hold it up for broke-state bailouts.
"We're not interested in revenue replacement for state governments," McConnell told Fox News' "Bill Hemmer Reports." "We're interested in trying to helping them in anything related to the coronavirus.
"We're not interested in solving their pension problems and all these other things that they would like for us to finance."
States like New York under Gov. Andrew Cuomo have said they are broke and need federal funding in the form of bonds and direct grants.
"What they really wanted to do was to pass legislation to send money to local governments, and what I said was we are not going to do that," McConnell said. "We will wait and take a pause, and we will assess the future potential damage to the country by adding $2.7 trillion to the national debt.
"And the next time we consider, shall I say, a Phase 4, it'll be after all the members of the Senate are back, which would be, at the earliest, May 4."
Earlier Wednesday, McConnell told "The Hugh Hewitt Show," if states are broke, they should just declare bankruptcy protection and not try to piggyback a bailout for their mismanagement on coronavirus relief.
"Yeah, I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route," McConnell said. "It saves some cities, and there's no good reason for it not to be available."
Pelosi, who has been ripped by President Donald Trump for being on vacation during the House recess, delaying the replenishment of the small business Payroll Protection Program, had deflected criticism back to Trump and McConnell, suggesting they did not want to help out hospitals.
"It was in fact delayed by democratic maneuvers," McConnell said. "And we put $310 billion in to replenish the program for small businesses, which ran out of money 12 days ago, and we also added $75 billion for hospitals, and we know they are struggling.
"Probably even more important than that: $25 billion for testing."
Testing is the key to get the economy going again, as the Reopening America Again plan guidelines call for comprehensive testing to control the spread of the virus, particularly if pockets flare up as hot spots.
"We have really developed kind of a Manhattan project approach to testing," McConnell said. "Because we know that, even when the governors begin to open up the economy – as, in my view, they should begin to do – and when hospitals are allowed once again to do elective surgery, which is the only place they make any money, we can begin to get out of this malaise by bringing the economy back to life."
McConnell concluded the economy can get to work and hospitals can make revenue again by states opening back up, as opposed to staying shut down and relying on the federal government to keep them afloat.
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