In light of revelations of a potential federal probe into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, among other recent accusations, state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, continues calling for an investigation and legislative hearings to examine this issue and other COVID-19-related decisions made by the administration, according to a release.
Additionally, Griffo “...believes that the additional powers that the Governor has accumulated since the start of the pandemic should be repealed,” reads a statement.
Requests for further comment or a reaction from Cuomo’s office went unanswered Thursday afternoon.
However, in a recent press conference, Cuomo said, “All the deaths in the nursing homes and hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported.”
“We should have done a better job of providing as much information as we could as quickly as we could ... no excuses: I accept responsibility for that,” he said, adding that he would propose reforms involving nursing homes and hospitals in the upcoming state budget, without giving details.
Griffo to introduce bill
Griffo is introducing a bill that would establish a panel to conduct a nonpartisan investigation of the Cuomo administration and state Department of Health’s conduct with regard to nursing homes and the pandemic.
However, the Republican state senator said the senate Democrat majority has set roadblocks to getting answers for the families of the nursing home residents who died.
As an example, a statement notes, “Despite senate Republicans urging Sen. James Skoufis, a Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Investigations Committee, to conduct an investigation and use subpoenas to get answers about the administration’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, he blocked such action. Sen. Skoufis even went so far as muting the microphone of Republican Sen. Tom O’Mara, the ranking member of the committee who proposed an investigation and the use of subpoenas.”
Griffo adds, “recent indications that the senate majority has now agreed to consider limiting the Governor’s extraordinary powers are encouraging and welcome news … However, I am concerned with what their proposal will ultimately look like when it is presented to the Legislature. Our best course of action should be to return to government as it was originally constructed and intended with coequal branches of government working to address problems affecting New Yorkers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.