NJ's Murphy rails against McConnell for being open to states declaring bankruptcy during coronavirus

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Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., doubled down on attacks against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday, a day after the Republican lawmaker said he'd rather allow states to declare bankruptcy than send additional federal relief to support struggling states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

CUOMO SLAMS MCCONNELL'S STATE BANKRUPTCY PUSH: 'ONE OF THE REALLY DUMB IDEAS OF ALL TIME'

"I used some strong language which was richly deserved, by the way, but that's because I know how dire the situation is," Murphy said during a coronavirus press briefing on Thursday. "I have been clear for weeks that if we do not get significant direct and flexible financial support from the federal government, we will be forced to make many difficult decisions about programs we all rely upon and which we will lean on in the months ahead."

Just a day before, Murphy decried McConnell as "wildly irresponsible" for suggesting states go bankrupt -- an option not actually available to the states, as it is to local governments.

Speaking on the "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on Wednesday, McConnell said he "would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route," rather than send additional funds to ensure pay for essential workers on the frontlines of the virus, as well as to bolster economic recovery.

Democrats had been pushing for additional help for state and local governments that are running dry on revenue during the pandemic, but Republicans have refused, and McConnell has said he won't let state's "take advantage" of the coronavirus pandemic to secure additional aid.

New Jersey has been slammed particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 5,368 in the state and infected 99,989 others.

Republicans staved off concessions for state funds as the House passed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package Thursday that will, in part, revive the coffers of the dried up Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses, while also providing funding to help hospitals and expand testing for the virus. Lawmakers hope to reconvene on May 4 to revisit another infusion of funds for the states.

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McConnell has received bipartisan backlash for his comments, with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., calling his comments "shameful and indefensible."