Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY, criticized the governor following a press conference in Depew today, for suggesting part of the difficulty with the budget this year was uncertainty with the federal government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo specifically pointed to the potential impact of the so-called Collins-Faso Amendment earlier this week.

“The audacity of him saying, I can’t get a budget passed because something might happen six months from now with a federal budget is called kick the can, point a finger, place blame. I’d say to Governor Cuomo, look in a mirror. There’s only one person to blame for the budget being late and sir, it happens to be you,” Collins said.

When asked about the governor’s concern over having to bring legislators back for a special session if there were a shortfall, Collins said Cuomo was exaggerating. For instance, he said if his amendment to shift Medicaid costs from the county to the state, were part of new healthcare legislation, it would only require the governor to find 1.5 percent savings in the budget.

Collins called it the most bloated budget in America and claimed he could find billions of dollars in savings if he were asked.

“All this governor is doing is what he does. He overstates it. He’s a blamer. He’s blaming his incompetence on anything he can and now it’s the Collins-Faso amendment, which by the way would fix county budgets in New York for the next five decades,” Collins said.

The congressman said Cuomo is attempting to use the budget to sneak in legislation on policy and give himself unilateral authority over economic development dollars.

“Let’s call it out for what he is. He’s a thug. He’s a bully. He’s an extortionist. He’s a blackmailer. He wants all the authority,” he said.

UPDATE: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul responded on behalf of the administration Wednesday afternoon.

“Once again, inside trader-turned Beltway insider Chris Collins has difficulty telling the truth. Collins cynically sold out his constituents and continues to try and slash their healthcare, raise their taxes and threaten New York’s finances in order to fund a bloated defense budget. New Yorkers aren’t stupid and he’s fooling no one,” Hochul said.