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Governor Andrew Cuomo says Georgia election "changes everything" for New Yorkers

Cuomo wants international travelers tested
Cuomo wants international travelers tested 07:04

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Georgia's runoff election "changes everything" during a Wednesday briefing, saying shifts in the Senate will return money to New York and help the state fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican, on Tuesday in a runoff race while Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff held a narrow lead over incumbent Senator David Perdue, a Republican, on Wednesday, as votes were still being counted in that race.

An Ossoff win would give the Senate a 50-50 split along party lines, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaker vote. It would also make Senator Chuck Schumer, a New Yorker, Senate majority leader.

Cuomo accused Republicans in Washington of sending New York taxpayers' dollars to Republican states "as a pure political exercise," blaming the state's $15 billion budget shortfall on "federal negligence" of the coronavirus. 

"They have literally taken billions of dollars from us, and that was a function of the Senate and the president and they are both gone. And today, Washington theft ends and compensation for the victims of the crimes of the past four years begins. And New Yorkers have been crime victims as far as I'm concerned by the theft of the federal government," he said.

Cuomo also asked the federal government to take action on screening incoming passengers in New York airports, saying the state did not have authority to require incoming travelers to be tested for COVID-19 but he has asked federal officials to have Customs and Border Protection do so.

"We don't want tens of thousands of people coming through our airports every day from countries around the world who were not tested — it's just that simple, and it makes total common sense," he said.

The state saw its first confirmed diagnosis of the new, apparently more contagious virus variant this week, detected in Saratoga Springs. Though the person had previously reported to not have any travel history, Cuomo said Wednesday that case was possibly connected to travel to the United Kingdom, where the variant was first identified.

Total coronavirus hospitalizations in the state Wednesday stood at 8,655 and there were 161 new deaths due to the virus.

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