Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan predicted Thursday that “Mitch McConnell, I think, probably regrets saying that. […] If he doesn’t regret it yet, I think he will regret it.” He added “The last thing we need in the middle of an economic crisis is to have states filing bankruptcy all across America and not able to provide services to people who desperately need them.” Rep. Pete King, a New York Republican who is retiring, called McConnell the “Marie Antoinette of the Senate.” King called McConnell’s “dismissive remark” calling for states to go bankrupt “shameful and indefensible.”
The National Governors Association, together as a bipartisan group, is asking Congress to give $500 billion in direct aid to help replace revenue lost from the coronavirus lockdowns. Hogan is one of the chairs, as is New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who minced absolutely no words in responding to McConnell. “This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” he said in his Thursday press briefing. “Not to fund state and local governments is incredibly short-sighted. They want to fund small businesses, fund the airlines, I understand that, but state and local governments fund police and fire and teachers and schools. How do you not fund police and fire and teachers and schools in the midst of this crisis?”
Why McConnell decided this was the fight to pick right now is a mystery. One of the things he’s highlighted in doing this is the fact that his own state of Kentucky is the single biggest bailed out state in the country, hoovering all the money paid by the blue states that keeps this damn country afloat. As Markos wrote, Kentucky “is a black hole of federal resources—a deficit-creation machine.”
Sununu and Hogan are the first Republicans to publicly call out McConnell, but they won’t be the last. Just about every state is going to need some kind of help in this, and not all of them are so callous about the lives of their citizens as McConnell. Some of them are up for reelection this year, too. While McConnell’s driving a deeper wedge between the blue states and his own moocher state, he’s also driving a wedge in the GOP.