More than a dozen Democrat state senators in New York issued a statement on Friday calling for Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic emergency powers to be stripped following a bombshell story that broke last night that featured allegations that his administration admitted to covering up the true extent of deaths that occurred in the state’s nursing homes.
“Today, February 12, 2021 , New York State Senators Alessandra Biaggi, Jabari Brisport, Samra Brouk, Jeremy Cooney, Andrew Gounardes, Robert Jackson, John C. Liu, John Mannion, Rachel May, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Gustavo Rivera, Julia Salazar, James Sanders, and James Skoufis issued a joint statement calling for a repeal of the Governor’s authority to issue unilateral directives,” the statement said. “On March 3rd, 2020, legislation was passed to significantly expand the Governor’s executive powers under an emergency declaration, including giving him the ability to issue directives, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Without exception, the New York State Constitution calls for the Legislature to govern as a co-equal branch of government,” the senators said. “While COVID-19 has tested the limits of our people and state – and, early during the pandemic, required the government to restructure decision making to render rapid, necessary public health judgments – it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate. While the executive’s authority to issue directives is due to expire on April 30, we urge the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible.”
Also, a letter was sent to the DOJ by the New York Republican Congressional delegation, including Reps. Lee Zeldin, Elise M. Stefanik, Chris Jacobs, Nicole Malliotakis, Andrew Gabarino, Tom Reed, John Katko, and Claudia Tenney.
“We request the Department of Justice (DOJ) immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration,” the letter began. “It is now being reported that the Cuomo administration has admitted to knowingly withholding information on New York State’s nursing home deaths out of fear it would be used against them as part of a federal investigation. This intentional and unconscionable coverup impacting thousands of our most vulnerable residents cannot go without consequences.”
“For months, family members, news outlets, and lawmakers alike have been calling on the Cuomo administration to report information regarding the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19, including those who died in a nursing home facility or after being transferred to another location,” the letter continued. “On March 25, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order mandating that ‘[n]o resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,’ and prohibited nursing homes from requiring medically stable hospitalized residents to be tested for COVID-19 prior to their admission or readmission. In May 2020, only after intense backlash and unnecessary suffering, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) reversed its policy.”
The lawmakers noted that they previously wrote to the DOJ after New York’s attorney general released a report showing that the Cuomo administration had severely undercounted the number of deaths in the nursing homes.
“It is now being reported that Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to a group of Democrat state legislators that the Governor’s office withheld this information from the federal government out of fear that it would ‘be used against us’ by the DOJ. Even more concerning, DeRosa also reportedly said that the DOJ was no longer focused on New York’s nursing homes,” the letter concluded. “We request your department immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response.”
More than 15,000 elderly New Yorkers in nursing homes have died of COVID-19, according to WWNY-TV, based on data from the New York Department of Health. Some of those deaths have been blamed on a March 2020 order issued by Cuomo’s health department that required nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients.
Cuomo had been refusing to release a full count of how many nursing home residents died until state Attorney General Letitia James revealed in a report that the Cuomo administration was vastly undercounting them.
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
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