New York Democrats, in a rare reprimand of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), are demanding that the Democrat leader be stripped of his emergency coronavirus powers in response to his administration’s coverup of coronavirus nursing home death data.
Cuomo, who has generally enjoyed unmitigated praise from the establishment media and fellow Democrats throughout the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, is facing backlash from Democrat state senators following an admission from Melissa DeRosa, New York’s secretary to the governor, who privately admitted that the administration covered up nursing home death data over fears of a federal probe under the Trump administration.
Fourteen lawmakers prepared a statement, asserting that it is now clear that “the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate.”
“Without exception, the New York State Constitution calls for the Legislature to govern as a co-equal branch of government,” the lawmakers wrote”:
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,” they said.
The state senators include Sens. 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,” per PIX11.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) also issued a warning to the governor, cautioning that lawmakers will be “discussing next steps as a conference.”
“Crucial information should never be withheld from entities that are empowered to pursue oversight,” Stewart-Cousins said.
The statement follows the New York Post’s Thursday report revealing the private call between DeRosa and state lawmakers, wherein she admitted that the administration withheld nursing home data over concerns of a federal investigation.
“Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” she told lawmakers, apologizing for the awkward position the administration’s actions put the lawmakers in.
“So we do apologize. I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair,” she acknowledged. “It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
The revelation prompted backlash from prominent New York lawmakers as well, including Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), both of whom called for a Department of Justice investigation.
“Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, and his senior team must be prosecuted immediately – both by the Attorney General of New York State and the U.S. Department of Justice,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said in a statement.
“DOJ needs to immediately open an Obstruction of Justice investigation into Gov Cuomo & his admin,” Zeldin said Thursday evening.
Over 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York nursing homes and long-term care facilities following the Cuomo administration’s controversial March 25 directive requiring the facilities to accept such patients, according to the AP. Coronavirus-related deaths in New York nursing homes and long-term care facilities is nearing 15,000, “up from the 8,500 previously disclosed,” the outlet added.
Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report revealing that “a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent.” Cuomo initially dismissed the reports. The bottom line, he said, is that “people died.”
“But we’re below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes. But who cares? Thirty-three [percent], 28 [percent], died in a hospital, died in a nursing home,” he said in response. “They died.”