A group of House Republicans are demanding the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services give a briefing on New York’s nursing home deaths after Democrats quashed a push for a bipartisan hearing.
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous March 15 order knowingly sent thousands of COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes across the state, which spread the virus and killed thousands of New York’s parents and grandparents,” Reps. Kevin Brady, R-Texas; Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the move.
Brady and Nunes are both members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Reed has been vocal in calling for accountability in his home state.
They are sending a letter to Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Norris Cochran asking for a briefing following revelations in New York that nursing home coronavirus deaths there had been underreported by half – jacking up the total to more than 15,000.
“Given the Ways and Means Committee’s jurisdiction over Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities and continued role in legislation relating to federal COVID-19 financial aid to states, it is essential the Committee use all tools at its disposal to investigate whether the state of New York deliberately provided false data to the federal government and to the public,” the congressmen said.
Cuomo has accused critics of making a tragedy into a political issue.
Separately, House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise released a timeline Thursday of Cuomo’s alleged cover-up of New York’s nursing home crisis – beginning with the state’s first confirmed case last year and ending Wednesday with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform calling for Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to subpoena Cuomo’s testimony on the issue.
“This is empty political theater — Republicans are trying to distract in every way possible from the Congressional investigation into their Jan. 6 coup attempt,” Cuomo spokesman Jack Sterne claimed in response to the subpoena request Wednesday. “We’re focused on managing this public health crisis, including getting as many shots into arms as humanly possible and carefully reopening the economy, and we won’t let these antics distract from that work.”
Cochran received another letter from Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Thursday, urging him to open an investigation into the matter.
“Time and time again, we’ve offered our colleagues on the other side the opportunity to work with us to expose Gov. Cuomo and his staff’s corruption, hold the state accountable for its deadly nursing home order, and ensure the critical COVID-related data that is shared with the federal government is accurate,” Reed told Fox News Thursday afternoon. “Unfortunately, partisan politics seem to be control and members seem content to ignore Gov. Cuomo’s deadly actions and subsequent cover-up. We will continue to utilize every tool before Congress, including this briefing request, as we pursue justice for the thousands of families who lost a loved one because of Gov. Cuomo.”