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Gov. Cuomo Runs To Mommy Pelosi For Protection

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to New York's congressional Democrats Thursday asserting the state's deficit troubles have been "addressed," despite Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's repeated complaints that the latest coronavirus relief bill does not contain enough federal funding.

The unusual letter, obtained by the Times Union, is a rare rebuke considering the close political alliance of Pelosi and Cuomo. The congresswoman, in her letter, strongly rebuts the idea that New York is being shortchanged by the federal aid package she helped craft with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

In the two-page letter, Pelosi wrote: "Overall, New York state will receive over $50 billion in state and local funding, and more than $20 billion in additional funding to support families' health, financial security and well-being."

Pelosi's missive listed billions of dollars in allocations for New York, including money for local governments, Medicaid, transportation, education, homelessness, small businesses and state and local health departments.

"We sadly observe over 1.5 million coronavirus cases, nearly 45,000 deaths, and hundreds of thousands of job losses in New York," Pelosi wrote. "Please know that your concerns are being addressed in ways that you have advanced and with the enthusiastic advocacy of Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand."

Pelosi's letter was addressed to New York's House Democrats who on Tuesday sent a letter to Pelosi advocating for more funding to the state. Their letter was sent after Cuomo penned his own letter to the entire New York delegation last week demanding they deliver at least $15 billion in direct relief for state government and pushing them to route federal aid to schools and hospitals through the state — which would handle the distribution.

Cuomo is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House Friday to discuss the coronavirus bill, with other governors and mayors.

After legislative details emerged Wednesday showing New York would receive about $12.7 billion in direct aid to its state government, Cuomo reiterated he needed at least $15 billion.

"There is no distribution formula for that $350 billion that does not get the state of New York $15 billion which is fair, in my opinion," Cuomo said. "This state was ambushed by COVID; it came here for three months and no one told us because the federal government failed. We were subjected and victimized by federal negligence."

Cuomo regularly describes New York's budget gap as $15 billion, although other fiscal policy experts tack the deficit at about half that number.

In the forthcoming coronavirus bill, New York will receive the third most state and local government aid of any state, following California and Texas, according to totals obtained by the Times Union.

From previous coronavirus bill passed by Congress, over $13 billion flowed to New York state government and its agencies.

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently struck a deal with the state to pay New York $934 million to cover its vaccine distribution costs. It advanced half the funds to New York in January.


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