Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that essential New York City employees could face cuts and furloughs if the federal government fails to provide financial assistance as the city grapples with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Cities and states all over the country, people are either acting on furloughs and layoffs or preparing for furloughs or layoffs of the exact people who have been the heroes in this crisis who we should be celebrating and supporting — first responders, the health care workers, the educators,” de Blasio said Wednesday morning on CNN.
“How are we going to support these people who we need if we don’t have any money?”
New York City reportedly has more than 300,000 full-time employees across a number of agencies including the NYPD, the Department of Education and the FDNY.
“I’ve lost $7.4 billion already and my economy can’t come back until I get that stimulus and get back to normal and provide those basic services,” de Blasio said. “It’s a real Catch-22. No stimulus, no recovery, no revenue. It only gets worse. So, to me, what the federal government needs to do is make cities and states whole.”
He blasted President Donald Trump, a New York City native, for forgetting “where he comes from.”
The president, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been vocal in their reluctance to provide funding to hard-hit New York.
“I think Congress is inclined to do a lot of things, but I don’t think they’re inclined to do bailouts,” the president said Monday. “It isn’t fair to the Republicans because all the states that need help — they’re run by Democrats in every case.”
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo has regularly condemned the partisan approach. “This coronavirus doesn’t pick Democrats or Republicans. It doesn’t kill Democrats or Republicans. It kills Americans,” he said Tuesday.
In New York City, 173,288 people have tested positive for coronavirus, 13,938 people have died and another 5,359 deaths are suspected to have died due to the virus.
The mayor avoided getting into specifics during his daily briefing Wednesday but doubled down on the message that stimulus funding is critical to the city’s financial health.
“I’m not here to project anything while we’re in the middle of fighting for the stimulus funding, because that’s what would get us out of this mess and that’s what New York City deserves,” he said, when asked about the potential cuts.
Every city and state that’s suffering deserves “stimulus funding that makes us whole,” de Blasio said. “That replaces all the lost revenue, that allows us to retain our full workforce, [and ensures] that public services are being provided, basic services, so we can get on with a restart and recovery.”