A new report claims New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides rewrote a report on how many people had died in New York’s nursing homes. Contessa Brewer joins ‘The News with Shepard Smith’ to report. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi
New York state lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would significantly strip embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo of temporary emergency powers that he was granted last year to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state Assembly passed the bill by a margin of 107-43, hours after the Senate approved the legislation in a 43-30 vote.
The Democratic governor suggested earlier this week that he will sign the bill, which would revoke Cuomo’s power to issue new orders related to coronavirus, while allowing current orders to remain in effect, albeit with great legislative oversight.
The effort to limit his power came as Cuomo deals with two major scandals: a cover-up of Covid nursing home death data by his administration and accusations by three women that he sexually harassed them.
“I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now. We certainly see the need for a quick response but also want to move toward a system of increased oversight and review. The public deserves to have checks and balances,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Westchester County.
“This legislation creates a system with increased input while at the same time ensuring New Yorkers continue to be protected,” Stewart-Cousins said.
Cuomo has issued nearly 100 orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to debate in the Senate on Friday morning.
Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island, on Friday complained that the bill would not prevent Cuomo from acting unilaterally and continuing directives he has issued under the emergency powers authorization.
Lanza, who said he would vote against the bill for that reason, blasted “one-man rule” and the effects from “when you have one man have absolute power over your lives” since last March.
“If I would have told anyone two years ago that we were going to stand by and let a governor to tell student athletes that they couldn’t play” or tell students they could not put on a play “people would say, you’re crazy, no way, no how is that happening,” Lanza said.
The move to strip Cuomo’s powers underscore what has been a growing rift between the governor and lawmakers from his own party.
Cuomo for years has been able to enforce his political will with less effective pushback from the Senate and Assembly than his predecessors faced.
In late January, Attorney General Letitia James said the Cuomo administration had underreported the number of Covid deaths related to nursing homes by up to 50%
“Many nursing home residents died from Covid-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in [the Department of Health’s] published total nursing home death data,” James said at the time.
On Thursday night, The New York Times reported that top aides to Cuomo last June rewrote a state Department of Health report to take out the fact that more than 9,000 nursing home residents as of that month had died of the coronavirus. The move came as Cuomo was starting to write a book about what at the time was his widely praised handling of the pandemic.
The Times report contradicts the recent claim by Cuomo’s aides that the death data was suppressed to keep the information from being used as a political weapon by the Justice Department, which at the time was under the control of Attorney General William Barr, a loyal ally of then-President Donald Trump. The Justice Department’s query for the data, however, came months after the Cuomo aides removed it.
The News with Shepard Smith is CNBC’s daily news podcast providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories. Available to listen by 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT daily beginning September 30: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/the-news-with-shepard-smith-podcast.html?__source=youtube%7Cshepsmith%7Cpodcast
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