- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday he’ll ask President Trump for more money to fight the war against the coronavirus, not to bail out the state’s pension fund.

“We’re going to have to talk about financial assistance — not for, as some would say, the legacy issues. That has nothing to do with it,” Mr. Murphy said on “Fox & Friends.” “This is to allow us to keep the frontline workers, educators, firefighters, police, EMS in their seats, in their jobs.”

Mr. Murphy, a Democrat whose state is among the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, is meeting with the president at the White House Thursday. Governors are seeking at least $500 billion in aid from the federal government in the next round of emergency pandemic aid.

But the president reiterated on Wednesday that he doesn’t want to bail out blue states for what he called decades of mismanagement, including their underfunded pension plans. Mr. Trump also said he wants to condition aid on eliminating sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.

The governor said state aid isn’t a bailout. He said his state has made “enormous progress” on its pension liabilities.

“We know [what] we’ve got to do with the old legacy stuff,” Mr. Murphy said. “We need help with the here and now, educators, police, fire, EMS, the front-line stuff. We’re bleeding resources, helping people whether they’ve lost their jobs, whether they’re sick, small businesses, et cetera. That’s where we need a big dose of federal cash.”

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