Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski) (center) joined Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (pictured left of Barclay), Congressman Tom Reed (pictured right of Barclay) and legislative colleagues today to continue their call for accountability and investigations into the state’s response to COVID-19 in nursing homes. A report from the attorney general found that the Cuomo Administration underreported the true number of nursing home fatalities by 50 percent. In addition, the AG found that policies such as the March 25 order that required nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients contributed to the spread of the virus in those institutions.
Leader Barclay and his colleagues called for a full, independent federal investigation into more than 14,000 nursing home and long-term care facility deaths that occurred in New York, as well as legislative hearings using subpoena power to compel information from the Department of Health and Administration officials.
“The Cuomo Administration hid the truth from the public,” said Leader Barclay. “Through lawsuits, a legislative hearing, constant inquiries from families, media and lawmakers and an attorney general investigation, they refused to tell the full story. Only after the AG’s report confirmed that the department of health underreported nursing home deaths by 50 percent did the governor and his team provide information. Now is the time for accountability. The Legislature should hold bipartisan hearings, using subpoena power, and the Department of Justice should expand its efforts to investigate what happened here. We have a duty to get answers for more than 14,000 families who lost loved ones due to highly questionable decisions and what has been an ongoing cover-up.”
“The Senate Minority Conference recently requested New York’s congressional delegation to obtain more information on the Department of Justice’s inquiry into nursing homes and COVID. In the wake of the AG’s bombshell report, New Yorkers need to know that their public officials are being held accountable now more than ever. Because our colleagues in the Majority refuse to perform any meaningful oversight, we must turn to our federal officials for help. I am thankful that Congressman Tom Reed and our New York Minority delegation have answered our calls and joined us in the effort to make sure that a full, independent investigation is finally done. For the families of those who lost loved ones in nursing homes, please know that today is one more step toward accountability -- but the path is far from over,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.
“We were honored to join Leader Ortt and Leader Barclay, who have been tireless advocates for those who lost a parent or grandparent because of Gov. Cuomo’s disastrous nursing home edicts,” said Congressman Reed. “Today we demonstrated, in one clear voice, that there are leaders at the state and federal levels who will not relent until we’ve secured justice for the people of New York. We urge the Biden Administration and Department of Justice -- do what is right. You must show the country that your past commitments to impartiality, non-partisanship and integrity weren’t just lip service. While New York Attorney General Tish James’ bombshell report was a start, only a full and thorough federal investigation, including subpoenas, will expose the full extent of the state’s incompetence and lies.”
Barclay and the Assembly Minority Conference will continue to push for answers for the thousands of grieving families. “We want to make sure this does not happen again,” he added.
A Video of today’s press conference is available here.