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De Blasio Warns First Responders Could Be Laid Off without Bailout from Washington

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De Blasio Warns First Responders Could Be Laid Off without Bailout from Washington

2020-05-07 22:47:46

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Bill de Blasio (Image source: Screenshot)

Mayor Bill de Blasio threw down the gauntlet on Thursday. He reported that New York City may need to lay off first responders if it doesn't get a bailout from Washington, D.C., something Donald Trump has made known he doesn't want to do. 

De Blasio said in his daily coronavirus press briefing that the city is losing money every day during the shutdown. If it doesn't get help from the federal government, it will be forced to start making decisions to cut costs.

"Every one of us [mayors] has to start looking at that possibility if we don't have any money," he said. "I'm not here to project anything while we're in the middle of fighting for the stimulus funding because that's what would get us out of this mess." 

Democrats wanted to add aid to help states and local governments to the last coronavirus aid bill. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused, saying that would come in a later bill. He followed this by changing his mind a few times on whether there would be any further funding.

"That [federal aid] allows us to retain our full workforce, ensure that public services are being provided, basic services so we can get on with a restart and recovery," the mayor continued. "We need to get that stimulus done so that people don't have to experience furloughs and layoffs. If it doesn't happen, and we're missing $7.4 billion in revenue, then all options are on the table. But it's not time to talk about specifics." 

Trump has said he doesn't want to bail out states that are run by Democrats. de Blasio labeled him a "hypocrite" who "seems to enjoy stabbing his home town in the back."

Additionally, de Blasio told CNN, "Right now, what I'm staring down the barrel of — and cities and states all over the country — people are either acting on furloughs and layoffs or preparing for furloughs and layoffs of the exact people who have been the heroes in this crisis, who we should be celebrating and supporting: the first responders, the health care workers, the educators. 

De Blasio added, "How are we going to support these people who we need if we don't have any money? I've lost $7.4 billion already, and my economy can't come back until I get that stimulus."

Gerard Fitzgerald, the president of the United Firefighters Association, said it's a slap in the face to hear the New York City mayor say he would be willing to fire first responders who have been essential during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Our firefighters should not have to respond to emergencies, fight fires, and fight the fight and the epicenter of this global pandemic and wait unemployment at the same time," he added.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer was fired up as well. He tweeted a comparison of the aid the city has been given so far and worked it out by the number of cases of COVID-19 the city has had compared to the state of Montana. 

"Tell me what's wrong with this picture: in the first round of federal stimulus, NYC got $8,530 per COVID case while Montana got $2.7 million per COVID case." He added that "relief should be distributed by NEED. New Yorkers deserve better."

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