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'Marie Antoinette Of The Senate': Cuomo, King Blast McConnell's 'Vicious' Push To Bankrupt New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he would rather let state governments declare bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic than receive more federal funding, prompting Long Island GOP Rep. Peter King to call him the "Marie Antoinette of the Senate."

McConnell suggested Republicans should oppose additional aid for state and local governments such as New York and New Jersey in future coronavirus relief bills, calling such a move a "blue state bailout."

"McConnell's dismissive remark that States devastated by Coronavirus should go bankrupt rather than get the federal assistance they need and deserve is shameful and indefensible," said King on Twitter. "To say that it is 'free money' to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate."

Speaking during his Thursday morning COVID-19 briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called McConnell's statements "vicious."

"This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time," said Cuomo. "When Senator McConnell said, 'This is a blue state bailout,' what he's saying is if you look at the states that have coronavirus problems, they tend to be Democratic states: New York, California, Michigan, Illinois."

The governor called McConnell's comments "irresponsible" and "reckless."

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Responds To McConnell's Call To Bankrupt New York, End 'Blue State Bailouts'

"How ugly a thought," the governor said. "I mean, just think of what he's saying. People died, 15,000 people died in New York, but they were predominantly Democrats. So why should we help them? I mean, for crying out loud, if there was ever a time you're going to put aside your pettiness, and your partisanship and this political lens that you see the world through Democrat and Republican, if there's ever a time for humanity and decency, now is the time."

State governments do not have a way to declare bankruptcy, but radio host Hugh Hewitt asked McConnell in an interview Wednesday if "we need to invent" a bankruptcy code so that states facing financial fallout from the pandemic "can discharge some of these liabilities that were put in place by previous governors."

"I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route," McConnell said. "It saves some cities. And there's no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don't have to do that. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of."

The senate majority's leaders comments came the day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo met face-to-face with President Donald Trump about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Cuomo wants the president and Congress to come up with funds to provide hazard pay for frontline workers, and to provide budget aid. New York's tab is now as much as $15 billion. The governor bemoaned the fact that as of now, the latest stimulus package has no direct budget aid for states.

"For Mitch McConnell to say that a state should go bankrupt because its people are sick over something they had no control over is absolutely disgraceful. It goes against everything that's American," King said.

King and Cuomo agree the COVID-19 pandemic is not a red or blue state issue, it's an American issue that parties need to work together to solve.

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