New York Democrat senators blocked a motion to subpoena records that could shed light on the elderly’s deaths during the pandemic at the state’s nursing homes.
On Monday, Republican Senator Thomas O’Mara filed the motion during a Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations virtual meeting.
The motion threatens what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has claimed that the state was competent in responding to the pandemic. And on Thursday, his office was slapped with the state attorney general’s scathing report that accused the governor of inaccurately reporting the actual death toll in nursing homes due to COVID-19.
However, instead of approving the motion, Cuomo’s Senate allies blocked it and even muted O’Mara’s microphone during the virtual meeting.
Top Democrat on the Senate committee, Sen. James Skoufis, accused the Republican of an “ambush” of lack of notice. Skoufis argued it wasn’t procedural because it wasn’t made in writing.
“It is time for the Senate Democrat Majority to stop stonewalling and protecting Governor Cuomo on the nursing homes crisis,” responded O’Mara.
He added that after the attorney general’s report, the Investigations Committee failed to issue subpoenas immediately and ask for the governor’s testimony. According to O’Mara, Cuomo’s office again completely abandons legislative responsibility, making the Democrats in the Senate complicit in the tragedy.
“Every step of the way, the Senate Democrat Majority has been willing to give the Cuomo administration every opportunity to keep trying to cover its tracks and rewrite its false story on nursing homes.”
‘Their failure to act is shameful’
Republican state Sen. Anthony Palumbo echoed his colleague’s sentiments.
“This partisan decision in the wake of the AG’s report is a dereliction of duty on their part and a grave injustice for the families of the deceased. This is the sole committee equipped with the power to investigate state government fully, and their failure to act is shameful,” Palumbo said.
On Friday, Cuomo lashed out and argued it didn’t matter wherever the deaths took place.
“New York state we’re only about 28% … but we’re below the national average in the number of deaths in nursing homes,” said the governor.
“But who cares?” 33 [percent], 28 [percent], died in a hospital, died in a nursing home — they died!”
Cuomo had the guts to release a book in October about his administration’s supposed success in handling the pandemic. He also later released a poster to celebrate.