De Blasio Slams McConnell For Depriving NYC Of 'The Money We Need'

WCBS 880 Newsroom
March 25, 2020 - 8:20 pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States, now has well over 17,000 cases of COVID-19 with 199 deaths.

During Wednesday evening's briefing, Mayor de Blasio said, like the state, the city is getting shortchanged in the 2 trillion dollar stimulus bill agreed to by the Senate and he singles out the majority leader.

"It should've been one of the easiest no brainers in the world for the U.S. Senate to include real money for New York City and New York State in this stimuls bill and yet it didn't happen and we know why — because Mitch McConnell wouldn't let it happen," de Blasio said. "I don't understand how anybody, any public servant, could live with themselves if they deprive cities in the middle of the biggest crisis since the Great Depression — deprive us, deprive the state— of the money we need."

The mayor said the bill would allocate only $1 billion to New York City.

"We are one-third of the cases in this country right now. Someone do the math down there in Washington in the Senate Republican Majority. They gave us less than 1% of the money that they were giving out to cities and states and we have a third of cases in the nation. That is just immoral," de Blasio said.

Earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $2 trillion Senate coronavirus bill "would be terrible for New York," saying the state would get approximately $3.8 billion in the Senate bill, when it would need up to $15 billion to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Across the five boroughs, more than 2,800 people are hospitalized and 660 are in intensive care.

The virus continues to spread at an alarming rate, especially in New York state which at nearly 31,000 coronavirus cases has 10 times as many as any other state, infecting some of the city's most critical workers including mass transit employees and members of the NYPD

The police department announced Wednesday that 197 uniformed members and 39 civilian members have tested positve for the virus. Another 3,237 uniformed officers were on sick report, accounting for 8.9% of the department’s uniformed workforce.

Withouth naming President Donald Trump, de Blasio addressed comments he made indicating that he'd like to see the country back up and running by Easter.

"We should not cling to that false hope," the mayor said. "I want to get back to normal as much as anyone, and maybe after a period of time if we saw sustained progress we could have that conversation, but we're seeing right now a growing challenge, a growing crisis that's going to take us into April... I believe April is going to be tougher than March and I think at this point May could be even tougher than April and people need to be ready for that. But the notion that everything might be fine by Easter, I don't know where on Earth that idea comes from."

While the state and city has issued strict social distancing guidelines, including keeping 100% of the non-essential workforce home and closing schools, de Blasio has warned he would take further action if people failed to abide by the rules, which have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus. 

In fact on Wednesday, de Blasio said he has removed the basketball hoops at 80 courts across the city because people were not abiding by the social distancing protocols. 

"There's about 1,700 locations total, so that means about 1,600 more courts that we can leave intact if people follow the rules. People don't follow the rules, we'll take the hoops down there and if we have to end up closing off basketball courts across the board we'll do it if we have to," the mayor said.

De Blasio also announced that by Wednesday night, 200 inmates will have been released from city jails as the city works to release all prisoners over the age of 70 or with a pre-existing condition, as well as hundreds of inmates who have been convicted of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies who have less than a year on their sentence.