Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did not win commitments from President Trump to support starting long-delayed New York infrastructure projects during their meeting this morning at the White House, according to what Cuomo said during a news conference this afternoon at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital.
“There are political differences between myself and the president. He’ll say it, I’ll say it,” Cuomo said. He said today’s meeting was not about politics but was about reopening the economy and using infrastructure projects as part of the mix.
“How do we take some of these big infrastructure projects that have been sitting around for a long time which, if we were all smarter and better, we would have done 30 years ago and actually get them up and running because we have to do this work anyway and because we need the jobs now more than ever,” Cuomo said.
“It was a good conversation. The president’s from New York so he has a context for all the things we’re talking about. I think the president also acknowledges and realizes that in New York we’re very aggressive about getting these projects done and getting them done on time. If he gives us the green light this is not going to be years of discussion. I have a shovel in the trunk of my car.”
Cuomo was seeking federal support for rebuilding the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River that carry Amtrak Northeast Corridor and commuter trains between New Jersey and New York, the Second Avenue Subway project and the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport.
Cuomo said Trump understood what he was talking about. Trump said he would talk with his team and offered to talk again with Cuomo next week.
Cuomo said that New York’s dispute with the Trump administration over the state being cut out of the Trusted Traveler Program whereby New Yorkers were denied the ability to receive expedited security clearance at airports did not come up. The administration wanted to have Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, be able to use the state’s driver license database as it saw fit for immigration enforcement. The state has taken the position that it can only access information about people who have applied for the Trusted Traveler Program.
During the news conference, Cuomo expressed strong support for the new COVID-19 recovery bill passed in the House that Republicans in the Senate say is dead on arrival and Trump has pledged to veto. The bill contains aid for state and local governments along with a repeal of the SALT provision that was added to the tax law when the Republicans controlled Congress. SALT limits the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal tax returns.
He again explained that New York consistently sends billions of dollars more to the federal government than it receives in aid while states such as Kentucky and Florida consistently take billions more from the federal government than they send in taxes.
Cuomo added a new level of vitriol to his criticism of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and also lashed out at Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and Fox News guest and former Reagan administration economic adviser Art Laffer.
“They’re lying. When Senator McConnell says and Senator Scott says and Laffer says ‘Why should we give New York, California, more money’ that’s a lie. They know that they take more money,” Cuomo said. “Senator McConnell has his hand out in the Senate and he receives more money for his state than he puts in. He raised this topic, not me. He made it personal, not me. I represent the people of the state of New York. That’s what I get paid to do. When he makes it personal to New York, they make it personal to New York and they’re lying I’m going to point it out. They get more money every year. Why should my state give a handout to Senator McConnell every year? Why should my state give a handout to Senator Scott every year? Why do they have their hand out every year? They’re against redistribution of wealth. That’s what they all say. ‘I’m against redistribution.’ Yeah, you’re against a redistribution unless you’re taking money. Then it’s fine. It’s not redistribution when you’re taking money.”
“I know it’s Washington, D.C., but the truth actually still matters,” Cuomo said. “Americans are smart and they find out the truth even in the fog and the blather of Washington, D.C.”
Cuomo reported that there were 74 new deaths from COVID-19 in New York on Tuesday, with 26 in nursing homes and 48 in hospitals. Statewide there have been a total of 23,643 COVID-19 deaths, according to statistics obtained this afternoon from the state Department of Health.
Deaths in Westchester total 1,476. Rockland saw no increase in deaths of its residents yesterday with the number remaining at 492. There were no new deaths in Putnam again yesterday, with the total remaining at 59. There have been 371 Orange County residents lost to the virus and 145 deaths in Dutchess County.
New York has had 364,965 people test positive for the virus. There were 33,186 cases identified in Westchester, 13,047 in Rockland, 1,227 in Putnam, 10,292 in Orange and 3,847 in Dutchess.