Some New York Democrats Break With Cuomo as 14 State Senators Call to Strip Him of Emergency Powers

The calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to have his pandemic emergency powers rescinded are growing, now with the support of Democrats too.

On Friday, 14 Democratic state senators joined a Republican-led effort calling "for a repeal of the Governor's authority to issue unilateral directives."

"Without exception, the New York State Constitution calls for the Legislature to govern as a co-equal branch of government," the senators said in a statement. "While COVID-19 has tested the limits of our people and state—and, early during the pandemic, required the government to restructure decision making to render rapid, necessary public health judgements—it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the governor are no longer appropriate."

"While the executive's authority to issue directives is due to expire on April 30, we urge the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible," they continued.

The bipartisan effort comes after new allegations of a cover-up by Cuomo's administration.

The governor has been under scrutiny by both Democrats and Republicans for withholding the total number of coronavirus deaths in the state's nursing homes.

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 8, 2020 in New York City. Democratic state senators are calling for Cuomo's emergency powers to be rescinded following his failure to report COVID-19 deaths. Spencer Platt/Getty

A damning report released by state Attorney General Letitia James last month estimated that the death toll of New Yorkers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities was more than 50 percent of the numbers released by the state.

Among the 14 Democratic state senators calling for the governor's emergency powers to be rescinded are Alessandra Biaggi; Jabari Brisport; Samra Brouk; Jeremy Cooney; Andrew Gounardes; Robert Jackson; John Liu; John Mannion; Rachel May; Elijah Reichlin-Melnick; Gustavo Rivera; Julia Salazar; James Sanders; and James Skoufis.

New York Republicans are pushing for an investigation of the governor and calling for him to be removed from office.

"It is now being reported that the Cuomo administration has admitted to knowingly withholding information on New York State's nursing home deaths out of fear it would be used against them as part of a federal investigation," the state GOP congressional delegation wrote in a letter to James on Friday.

"This intentional and unconscionable cover-up impacting thousands of our most vulnerable residents cannot go without consequences," they said.

GOP Congressman Tom Reed said he is focusing his attention on Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and is looking to pursue criminal charges against her.

"This cannot go unaccounted for," Reed told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. "I'm going to be looking at filing a personal criminal complaint against this individual today in local law enforcement offices, as well as federal offices, because she needs to be arrested today."

On a Wednesday conference call with Democratic lawmakers, DeRosa said the reason Cuomo's office withheld the total nursing home deaths was because they were afraid that federal prosecutors, under the then-Trump administration, would call for an investigation.

DeRosa's admission has been widely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, and the information has further strained Cuomo's image as a leader amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsweek reached out to Cuomo's office for comment, but did not hear back before publication.

Updated 1:01 PM ET, with additional details.

Updated 2:12 PM ET, with the state GOP congressional delegation's letter to James.