President-elect Joe Biden's transition team pledged to aid state and local governments whose finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as the new administration and its priorities begin to take shape.
Biden on Saturday claimed victory in the election hours after major media outlets projected he had secured 270 electoral votes; President Donald Trump has vowed to fight the outcome in court.
Biden's transition team in a new website that went live over the weekend pledged "a renewable fund for state and local governments to help prevent budget shortfalls, which may cause states to face steep cuts to teachers and first responders."
The money would be a boon to states like New York that have seen their tax revenue plummet during the crisis since March.
New York is facing a multi-billion dollar budget gap, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned spending reductions, tax increases on wealthy people, and borrowing would be necessary to cover the gap if money from Washington is not approved.
The "renewable" portion of this may be key for New York, given the multi-year nature of the budget problems the state faces. Cuomo has called for tens of billions of dollars in stimulus funding since the spring; a bill supporting state governments has stalled since then.
Cuomo is counting in large part on Biden, an ally of his, to see the stimulus measure through a narrowly divided U.S. Senate that Republicans may continue to control by early 2021.
Both men have publicly admired each other for the last decade. Biden visited Albany during Cuomo's tenure, talking up federal funding for major infrastructure projects close to the governor's heart.
When Cuomo faced a Democratic primary challenge from his left flank in the form of actress and education advocate Cynthia Nixon, Biden appeared at the state Democratic convention to praise the governor. Biden would also appear in a TV ad endorsing Cuomo ahead of the primary, which the governor handily won.
Cuomo, in turn, has been a prominent supporter for Biden and backed his bid early, even amid doubts from Democrats over whether the former vice president could mount a competitive campaign.
The governor has repeatedly denied an interest in joining a Biden administration.
But the more immediate concerns going forward are a budget gap with no clear solution at the moment, other than federal aid and the ongoing pandemic.
New York, like much of the country, is seeing its coronavirus cases rise once again, with new cases mounting in parts of Western New York, the Finger Lakes and Central New York.
On Sunday, Cuomo on ABC's This Week said Biden's ability to connect with people will aid him in the challenges going forward.
"Joe Biden is going to be all about that affirmative effort to find the commonality, the cord that connects,” Cuomo said. “I think that's what it was all about. I also think there's a general disdain for Washington, when people's lives are under real stress, and they're having real challenges, they're pointing fingers in Washington. If there was ever a time in history not to do it, now was the time."