New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Sunday that the state could be forced to start laying off workers deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic—such as police officers, teachers, health care workers, and firefighters—unless it receives more funding from the federal government. “We announced the budget on Friday for the next four months and we had to cut or defer over $5 billion of expenditures and this includes potentially laying off educators, firefighters, police, EMS, health care workers,” Murphy said. “This is not abstract. This is real. It’s not a blue state issue. It’s an American issue.” New Jersey Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio has predicted that the state could suffer a $10-billion loss in revenue, based on the assumption “that there will not be a resurgence of COVID-19 cases later this year.”
Last week, the House passed a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said is “dead on arrival” as it heads to the Senate. President Trump and his Republican allies have rejected the Democrat-proposed package, calling it a “bailout” for blue states. Murphy on Sunday pressed the need for bipartisanship as the state records more than 153,000 cases of the coronavirus, the second-highest number in the country. “We need it, and it’s not just New Jersey, it’s not just blue states, it’s American states up and down the country,” the governor said.