Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Legislators seeking to strip NY governor Andrew Cuomo of powers. Here’s why.
Democratic leaders of New York State Senate are moving to strip Govenor Andrew Cuomo of emergency powers granted during the pandemic, setting up a rebuke for the governor from members of his own party. The Senate’s measures, could be voted on as soon as next week, underscoring the deepening division between Cuomo and state lawmakers since the governor admitted to intentionally withholding critical data on virus-related deaths from the Legislature.
The F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York had opened an inquiry into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. It is not known whether the inquiry, which was confirmed by three people familiar with the matter, was focused on Cuomo or any individual, only that it was in its earliest stages. The inquiry was another clear indication of how the climate has shifted dramatically for Cuomo since March, when he emerged as a prominent voice in the health crisis, using his daily briefings and invocations of his family to inform and calm a nation of viewers who turned to him as the virus began to spread.
Lawmakers havebeen discussing limiting the governor’s powers earlier this year, and those efforts were given new ground as the controversy over nursing homes engulfed the Cuomo administration over the last month. On Wednesday, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, the Democratic chairman of the health committee, said that the time had come for the Legislature to take action, “hopefully sooner than later.” “We need to remind them that state government is not one big branch: There’s three of them,” he added.
Senate leaders intend to pass a bill that would limit the governor’s ability to supersede state laws to combat the pandemic and would establish a 10 person commission, made up of members of the Assembly and Senate, to evaluate any future pandemic-related directives by Cuomo, as well as suspensions of laws. A group of Assembly Democrats, circulated a letter among colleagues seeking support for the revocation of Cuomo’s powers that suggested the administration had broken federal law an accusation the governor stridently denied on Wednesday. The governor defended the use of his emergency powers, arguing it had “nothing to do with nursing homes,” and noting that the Legislature already has the authority to reverse any of the governor’s executive orders a step lawmakers have yet to take.
“These are public health decisions,” Mr. Cuomo said on Monday. “They are not local political decisions, and they have to be made on a public health basis.”
Questions surrounding the governor’s handling of nursing homes have been an increasing focus since last spring, with particular interest in a March 25 guidance memo that compelled such facilities to admit or readmit people who were positive for the virus. Cuomo has said that memo followed federal guidance and was implemented for fear that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients.
Top aide to Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, was recorded last week admitting the administration had purposely withheld the data in the face of an investigation by the Trump Justice Department that it feared would be politicized the governor acknowledged on Monday that there had been “a delay” in telling people the full story. “I understand the public had many questions and concerns,” he said, adding, “And I understand that they were not answered quickly enough.”