‘Watch your words, sir’ – Gov. Murphy blasts Sen. McConnell for suggesting states should go bankrupt

Gov. Phil Murphy had harsh words for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

News 12 Staff

Apr 22, 2020, 11:44 PM

Updated 1,544 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy had harsh words for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
McConnell, a Republican, said on a syndicated radio show that he would “be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available.”
But the thought of allowing states to go bankrupt instead of giving them federal bailouts stunned the Democratic governor.
“I’m taken aback. My breath is taken away. I have almost nothing to say,” Murphy said.
The governor said New Jersey has his word that the state will not go bankrupt.
“But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights in every state in America out of the services - the exact services our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, and cut,” Murphy said.
The governor added, “Watch your words, sir. This is the time to stand up on a bipartisan basis and be there for the states in America, not just for the states’ sake, but for the American people. Please, God.”
Murphy said that New Jersey will need substantial assistance from the federal government to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that New Jersey could see “historic” levels of layoffs and billions of dollars in borrowing without aid from Washington.
“We are dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis that will be followed by an unprecedented fiscal crisis,” Murphy said.
The governor said that he was disappointed that the latest round of federal legislation didn’t include direct assistance for state governments. But he said that he was encouraged that the bill includes billions in funds for more COVID-19 testing nationwide, and that expanding testing in New Jersey will be necessary before the economy reopens.
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"We are testing more and more every day but it is not a definitive answer as to the question - and nobody knows this right now - how many folks in total may be infected. We don't know that. We can guess, but we don't know that,” Murphy said.
The governor toured a previously disused area of East Orange General Hospital prior to his briefing. The Army Corps of Engineers turned the area into a 250-bed hospital wing in just 12 days.
“Even if we bat 1.000 based on everything I’ve been told and we’ve been told the chance are very likely this come around again. So, what are we doing to do to make sure we’re prepared for that?” Murphy said.
The governor also signed a bill that requires hospitals to report demographic data on COVID-19 patients. He says that the law requires daily reporting on age, ethnicity, gender and race of COVID-19 patients and fatalities.


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