Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Eric Thayer/Reuters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested last week that federal aid amounted to a “blue state bailout,” adding that states should file for bankruptcy instead of receiving emergency cash.

His home state of Kentucky netted more federal cash than 47 other states, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

McConnell’s comments amounted to “one of the really dumb ideas of all time,” according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said: “The last thing we need in the middle of an economic crisis is to have states all filing bankruptcy all across America and not able to provide services to people who desperately need them.”

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office released a press statement with the headline “blue state bailout” last week, but his effort to politicize the coronavirus response was rebuked by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The description is also false, Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan wrote on Monday.

McConnell’s home state of Kentucky receives more federal funds than it pays back to the federal government, according to a 2020 report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government titled “Who Gives and Who Gets?”

Kentucky has a bigger balance than 47 other states from the 2015 fiscal year through 2018. It received a net total of $148 billion, according to the report. It’s behind only Maryland and Virginia, which receive a large amount of funding partly because of their proximity to the country’s capital. 

Per capita, the Bluegrass State beat out 49 states over that period, according to the report.

Even so, McConnell has pushed to prevent bailout cash for states, saying they should file for bankruptcy instead.

“I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” he said in a radio interview. “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

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Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has the most coronavirus cases, called McConnell’s comment “one of the really dumb ideas of all time.” It’s “irresponsible and reckless,” Cuomo added.

New York contributes more funding to the federal government than any other state by a significant margin, giving $166 billion over the same 2015 to 2018 time frame.

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan echoed Cuomo’s criticisms.

“The last thing we need in the middle of an economic crisis is to have states all filing bankruptcy all across America and not able to provide services to people who desperately need them,” Hogan said.

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