Democratic leaders in the New York State Senate are moving to strip Gov. Cuomo (D-NY) of his emergency powers. The move follows news that a federal investigation is currently looking into the governor's coronavirus task force and its abandoned policy of sending covid-infected patients into state nursing homes.
The probe by the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York is reportedly in its early stages and focused, at least in part, on the actions of the governor's task force in regards to coronavirus deaths in New York's elderly care facilities, the Times Union reported.
"I have said from the beginning that this is more than a nursing home scandal, this is a criminal coverup corruption scandal at the highest levels of New York State government," Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said in a statement.
An aide for Gov. Cuomo admitted last week that the Cuomo administration withheld data regarding deaths in New York nursing homes from state lawmakers because the governor's administration purportedly feared how the Trump White House might use such data against the state.
Rep. Stefanik called the probe "an important first step toward justice and accountability for all New Yorkers" and said subsequent action was needed by the state legislature.
"In light of this news, the New York State Legislature must immediately revoke the Governor's emergency powers," the lawmaker wrote. "The State Senate and Assembly should immediately issue subpoenas to the Governor and his senior staff."
Democrat leaders in the New York Senate are answering the call. Democratic efforts to scale back the governor's powers were already underway but, according to The New York Times, have gained momentum in recent days as more damning revelations come to light
New York Attorney General Letitia James published a report in late January finding the New York Department of Health underreported COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.
The Senate's measure could be voted on as early as next week.