GOP Senators Ask Finance Committee to Investigate NY Gov. Cuomo’s Handling of Nursing Homes During Pandemic

In this file photo, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a COVID-19 briefing on July 6, 2020 in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Six Republican senators have sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee asking for a congressional investigation into how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo handled nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic and the steep death toll in those institutions.

Sens. Ben Sasse, (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY), and James Lankford (R-OK) signed the letter addressed to Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The letter said, in part:

We ask that you open an investigation and hold a committee hearing on New York’s cover-up of nursing home deaths. Transparency and accountability are not partisan aims and must be taken seriously by this committee.

Governor Cuomo’s administration reportedly knew that over 9,000 nursing home residents had died of COVID-19 by May 2020 — approximately 35 percent of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths. However, Governor Cuomo’s administration publicly claimed that just 21 percent of the COVID deaths were in nursing homes. This is horrifying and unacceptable.

While we appreciate the hearing this committee held in March on the issue of COVID-19 nursing home oversight and the investigation that the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn and the FBI have opened into the action of the Cuomo administration more must be done.

The Law 360 website reported on the development:

In remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Cuomo, a Democrat, dismissed the call for an investigation as Republicans playing politics, saying they had politicized the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning.

“They were in denial of COVID,” Cuomo said. “You had the president of the United States who said it wasn’t a problem. It was going to go away. We’re going to reopen by April. He wanted to blame the Democratic governors for COVID.”

Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi told Law360 the GOP senators’ bid for an investigation is an “unserious political charade.”

Law 360 reported Cuomo is also facing an impeachment investigation by the New York State Assembly on allegations of sexual harassment — charges he denies — and the handling of nursing home deaths.

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