“Marie Antoinette of the Senate”: McConnell Draws Rare GOP Condemnation for Suggesting States Go Bankrupt

Tom Williams/ZUMA

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) laid into Senate Majority Mitch McConnell after the top Senate Republican suggested cash-strapped states struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic should consider declaring bankruptcy rather than rely on the federal government for additional emergency funding.

Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, McConnell also criticized governors, “regardless of party,” seeking “free money” during this time.

“To say that is ‘free money’ to provide funds for cops, firefighters, and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate,” King said on Twitter.

The scathing condemnation by a House Republican comes as Democrats fight for more federal aid to be included for states in the latest coronavirus relief bill, as state budgets around the country project a staggering $500 billion loss in tax revenues from the pandemic. But McConnell this week made clear his aversion to including such measures.

“My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that,” McConnell told Hewitt. “That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.”

Soon after the radio appearance, his office later published a news release under the headline “Stopping Blue State Bailouts,” all but confirming the deeply partisan lens through which McConnell views general state relief amid a public health crisis.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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