New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for an “Americans First Law” that would require corporations to give back federal funds if they do not rehire employees to pre-pandemic levels will be introduced in Congress by the state’s delegation, elevating the governor’s high-profile response to the pandemic to Washington, D.C.
Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday announced that members of New York’s Congressional Delegation would propose the “Americans First Law,” designed to help prevent corporate bailouts following the coronavirus pandemic.
First proposed by Cuomo on May 10, the law states that if a corporation does not rehire the same number of employees that it had before the coronavirus crisis, it cannot be eligible for government funding.
Companies that have received funding but have already laid off employees would be forced to return their federal stimulus funds, Cuomo said: “There should be no subsidy for any corporation that lays off employees… no government money.”
He also issued a joint statement with Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan—the chairman of the National Governors Association (Cuomo is vice-chair), in which they renewed the bipartisan call for more fiscal support to states.
Companies who are bailed out by the federal government will be less incentivized to rehire workers, opting to instead “boost their corporate profits,” Cuomo argued during his daily press conference on Tuesday.
“We’re not going to subsidize you to lay off workers. If you can lay off workers, and you’re saving money by laying off workers, then you don’t need the American taxpayer to subsidize you,” he said.
“This virus has taken a toll on all of us, but it has especially hurt working Americans and our front line workers – they are the ones who really need the financial help, not big businesses,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “I have spoken with a number of members of New York’s Congressional Delegation and they have agreed to propose the Americans First Law to stop bailouts of greedy corporations that are not protecting and rehiring their employees once they open back up.”
On Tuesday, House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released their framework for a fifth round of stimulus legislation, worth $3 trillion and entitled the Heroes Act. The 1,800-page bill is a wishlist of Democratic priorities, starting with nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments. It also includes more money for stimulus checks, hazard pay for essential works, funding for testing and additional unemployment insurance. The House is expected to vote on the package Friday, but without any Republican support, it may not go far.