Lawmakers in New York are expected to take action against Gov. Andrew Cuomo following the reveal that his administration underreported the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing home and then sought to cover it up from the federal government.
Democrats in the New York State Assembly held a lengthy hearing on Monday, Feb. 22, with the proposed removal of Cuomo's emergency powers among the topics.
Democratic Assembly members again met on Tuesday, Feb. 23 for a lengthy hearing, but no consequences have yet been announced for Cuomo.
“I do think there’s a consensus of the members that they want to take some action,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said on Monday. “We’re still trying to come to a place where all the members are comfortable, and I don’t know if we’re there yet.”
- Earlier story - COVID-19: Nursing Home Scandal Could Bring Criminal Charges For Cuomo, Prosecutor Says
Cuomo’s actions have led to the Assembly members considering action against the governor as the investigation into COVID-19 in nursing homes continues both federally and nationally, with investigations being called for by both sides of the aisle.
Emergency powers gave Cuomo unilateral authority to issue Executive Orders for most of the past year without oversight from the state Legislature.
Within the next week, Democrats in the State Senate are expected to approve legislation that would create a special commission to review future actions from the Cuomo administration in relation to the pandemic.
The call from the Assembly also comes following a reported heated exchange between Cuomo and Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens, who was allegedly threatened and verbally berated by the governor in an incident that was reportedly not out of character.
“What happened to Ron and Ron’s family is very unsettling and disturbing. Tough on him. Tough on his family,” Heastie said on Capital Tonight on Monday. “That sentiment was pretty much across the board in our conference today. Our people were expressing their support for Ron.
“This kind of discourse really has no place in politics, so it’s unfortunate that this happened to Ron and his family,” he added. “I think we have to do a lot of reflection on this.
“As I said, I think what happened really has no place in politics. We will discuss what’s going to happen going forward with regards to the governor’s powers and things like that. But it is very troubling what happened.”
On social media, New York Assembly’s GOP said that transparency and accountability need to be required for Cuomo, calling for the removal of his emergency powers and a subpoena into Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and other state health officials.
“We do not need to wait any longer. Now is the time to take away the governor’s emergency power,” they posted. “We need to carve a path forward. The most important thing we must do is get back to a normal functioning government.
“(We) are calling on (our) Democrat colleagues to put the interests of people first. Put your constituents first.”
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