New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called President Trump's executive orders, intended to continue unemployment benefits and increase other coronavirus-related aid, laughable and legally questionable.
The comments came on Cuomo's conference call with reporters on Sunday, where he also announced a record low coronavirus infection rate for the Empire State -- .78%. It's the lowest rate in New York since the early days of the pandemic, the governor said.
While celebrating the progress made by New Yorkers to curb the spread of the virus and keep that number low throughout the state's staged reopening process, Cuomo took on President Trump's freshly signed executive orders.
“The executive orders will not be a substitute for legislation,” he said. “Just by law, you’re not going to be able to do what you have to do by executive order.”
Part of Trump's orders include a return of federal unemployment benefits to the millions out of work, but the weekly payment would be $200 less than the $600 previously distributed. 25 percent of that payment, $100, would come from state funding, Trump said Saturday, and the federal contribution would come from FEMA disaster relief funds.
On the call, Cuomo said that percentage pulled from the state could account for $4 billion. The move comes after the governor, one of many, has publicly called on the president for federal financial aid for months to help already burdened state budgets.
"You can’t now say to states, ‘Oh, have no funding and you have to pay 25% of the unemployment insurance cost,'" he said.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also fired criticisms of President Trump's orders on CBS' “Face the Nation.”
“Look, that would cost us about $500 million dollars between now and the end of the year,” Lamont said. “I could take that money from testing. I don’t think that’s a great idea. I could take that money from, you know, mass disinfecting for our schools. I don’t think that’s a great idea. In fact, I think the president’s plan is not a great idea.”
Gov. Cuomo also delivered the latest death toll for the state, which climbed to 25,202 after seven more New Yorkers died from the coronavirus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.