On Monday, New York state lawmakers sought to advance an effort to strip Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the emergency powers granted to him during the coronavirus pandemic amid controversy over how his administration handled patient care. in nursing homes in the New York area.
Republicans in the state legislature held a press conference as they prepared to introduce legislation that would immediately strip those executive powers from Cuomo, in the hope that it could be formally passed Monday night.
“This is not following science. This is about arbitrarily making decisions that might be best for the governor, but I’m not sure they are best for the people of New York State,” said Will Barclay, minority leader. of the New York State Assembly. . “This is the time to take those executive powers away from the governor.”
Cuomo’s expanded powers have allowed him to issue blanket executive orders aimed at protecting public health during the pandemic.
A spokesperson for Cuomo did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
New York State Sen. Pam Helming noted that Republicans have introduced a similar bill to the legislature 14 times this year alone, without success in the Democratic-controlled legislature.
Several Democratic lawmakers also introduced a resolution to formally censure Cuomo for “misconduct of office,” including an alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths and threatening behavior toward lawmakers. The censorship essentially serves as a public reprimand for Cuomo’s actions, though it carries no actual punishment.
NY RON KIM DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY SAYS CUOMO SHOULD CONSIDER HIS RESIGNATION
As Fox News previously reported, New York State Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim recalled a phone conversation with Cuomo where the governor reportedly spent ten minutes threatening his career.
Cuomo has said he has had a “long and hostile” relationship with Kim, suggesting that Kim’s claims stemmed from this controversial story.
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The controversy stems from the number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in New York nursing homes. A report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James late last month revealed that total nursing home deaths in the state were higher than previously expected, underestimated by as much as 55%. Those figures were attributed to a policy whereby the state counted deaths that occurred on the grounds of the nursing home and not those that died later in a hospital.
The Health Department revealed shortly after James’s report was released that another 3,829 residents died after being transferred to hospitals, representing about 40% more deaths than previously counted. At least 12,743 long-term care residents have died from the virus as of January 19.
New data released this month raised those numbers to at least 14,100.
An aide to the governor said the administration withheld data because it feared it would be used against it.
A family who lost their mother after she contracted COVID-19 at a New York nursing home told Fox News’ Sandra Smith on Monday that if Cuomo made a mistake, they would like to see him “acknowledge it.”
“That’s right, we want justice for our mother … and we need to make sure that this never happens again to everyone in nursing homes now and in the future,” said Cindy Lizzi.
Tara Prindville of Fox News contributed to this report.