New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a new law on Tuesday that aims to prevent corporations from receiving excess funds as a result of COVID-19. According to the governor, the "Americans First Law" would block corporations from receiving a government bailout unless they rehire the same number of workers they employed prior to the pandemic.
"No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork and no partisanship," Cuomo said. "There has to be a time in history when the federal government is willing to stop playing partisanship politics. And if it's not through this experience, it will never be."
The governor cited the federal bailout of major banks after the 2008 mortgage crisis as the impetus for his proposal. Banks that received taxpayer-funded bailouts from the federal government after the crash continued to award their top executives.
"No bailout boondoggles. Do not betray the American people again," Cuomo said Tuesday, noting his position as attorney general of New York after the 2008 bailout: "I had to clean up the mess."
"I understand businesses need to recover, this doesn't have to be a giveaway to the rich millionaires who are doing just fine anyway, and it doesn't have to be a giveaway to big business," he said. "It shouldn't be that another episode in history where somehow the rich figure out a way to get more assistance. When it is supposed to be about helping average Americans."
Cuomo said the "new scam" by corporations, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, will be to cut costs unnecessarily through workforce reductions. "These corporations are going to use this pandemic to lay off workers," he said.
If a corporation's rehiring does not meet its former workforce, the Americans First Law would require them to return any government funds they received to weather the COVID crisis, according to the governor.
Cuomo said the New York state congressional delegation will propose the law in the House of Representatives. "I believe our delegation has an opportunity to lead the way," he said.