"This dictatorial takeover of our state has got to end," New York Assemblyman David DiPietro said at a New York protest against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's shutdown on Friday. The state has entered Phase One of reopening, but DiPietro sees no reason why they can't speed the process along.
The Republican doesn't buy the chicken little predictions about a second coronavirus wave because, he explained, he has faith in his fellow Americans.
"I'd say that's a big crock of baloney," Dipietro responded. "This country has learned how to social distance, and it has learned how to beat back this virus."
Having said that, he believes it's time for New York to reopen and that Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions have no rhyme or reason. He added that Cuomo's agenda is discriminatory against New Yorkers of faith. Churches were placed in the very last phase of New York's reopening plans, in Phase Four. Until, church services are restricted to just 10 people at a time.
"You can't tell me you can put 8 to 10,000 people in Walmart, but only 10 people in a church," DiPietro sounded off. He observed that casinos have also opened their doors.
The White House has a much different approach to houses of worship. On Friday President Trump announced that churches are "essential" and should be treated as such during the pandemic. He called on the governors to allow churches to open "right now."
So what is Cuomo's endgame?
"Money," DiPietro said, without skipping a beat. "Money and power. Just like most of them. Extort as much money from the federal government as you can to cover up his horrible budgets that have plunged us into deficits that are beyond our imagination."
Cuomo has indeed asking for more funding from Washington, arguing that New York has put plenty of money into the federal pot over the years and is deserving of the funds.
State Senator Patrick Gallivan will introduce a resolution in Albany next week to limit the governor's emergency powers to 30 days, in which time he or she has to file weekly reports for the legislature. If he or she want to extend those powers, they have to go through the legislature.
A bill DiPietro introduced with State Senator Pam Helming goes even further. It seeks to strip Cuomo of "all of his powers," meaning the new emergency powers granted to him earlier this year.
"Gov. Cuomo has overstepped, superseded and, frankly, taken advantage of his executive authority in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” DiPietro said.