Hogan calls on Trump administration to support aid for states

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Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a field hospital in the Baltimore Convention Center. Image via Facebook Live.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday urged the Trump administration to support federal aid for the states in the next stimulus package to combat the effects of coronavirus, saying support from the White House could break a deadlock in the Senate.

Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association, said state executives have been on the frontlines in the response to the virus, implementing shutdowns of day-to-day life that have helped slow the spread of the disease and wreaked havoc on local economies.

“As I have said from the very beginning, this is not a time for politics. I have spoken to the leaders of Congress in both parties about the need for this relief,” Hogan said in a statement. “We have asked the administration to weigh in so that we can break this logjam in the Senate and get this done for the American people.”

On Saturday, Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), vice chair of the National Governors Association, put out a joint statement requesting $500 billion in relief for the states so they could shore up their budgets.

“Despite this grave challenge, the recently passed federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset these drastic state revenue shortfalls,” they said of the first round of stimulus funding. “To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states.”

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said on Friday the state is projected to lose $2.8 billion this fiscal year, which ends June 30, due to the ongoing pandemic. In response, Hogan instituted a spending and hiring freeze statewide and signaled he would not sign any bills from the virus-shortened Maryland General Assembly session that requires new spending.

They also said local governments, such as cities, should receive funding from the federal government.

Without budget stability, states would have to cut various programs, “hampering public health, the economic recovery, and—in turn—our collective effort to get people back to work,” Hogan and Cuomo said.

Both parties were deadlocked on a second round of stimulus last week. Republicans have proposed pumping $250 billion more into a program for small-business loans, while Democrats wanted to add $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.

Per The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said funds from the $2 trillion CARES Act need to be fully distributed before Congress decides on where to allocate additional money.

McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed half of the funds in the Paycheck Protection Program were depleted in the first week, according to The Washington Post.

One of Maryland’s senators, Ben Cardin, said Democrats are making a move similar to Hogan’s and appealing to the Trump administration directly, The Hill reported. Cardin said Democrats are negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the hopes of getting President Trump on board.

Brandon Weigel

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