Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a joint statement on Friday with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson called on Congress to approve a package of pandemic stimulus measures meant to extend unemployment aid and support for small businesses.
"It is time for Washington to step up and deliver desperately needed relief for their constituents," the governors said in the statement released through the National Governors Association.
Cuomo is the group's chairman; Hutchinson the Republican vice chairman.
"Governors are heartened that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers are now talking with each other to find a way forward," they said. "We encourage leadership to stay at the bargaining table and work out a deal that delivers the critical relief to the American people."
The proposal on the table is a $908 billion plan that includes mass transit funding as well as support for people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The proposal is unlikely to include aid for cash-starved states and local governments. Cuomo this week called the measure a "down payment" adding that he hopes President-elect Joe Biden will be able to win support for a larger stimulus bill next year.
A surging pandemic in most of the country has coincided with a slowdown in jobs being added back to the economy in recent weeks. New York's unemployment rate statewide in October was above 9%.
The proposal would provide COVID-related relief measures through March.
"As an interim measure to address states immediate and pressing needs, we support the bipartisan framework proposed by Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Bill Cassidy and a bipartisan group of their colleagues as a response that would bring meaningful relief to those who are struggling; situate states to quickly, effectively and equitably implement their vaccination plans; and prime the economy to allow for a faster rebound," the governor said.