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Statement from Assemblymember Reilly regarding New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker’s testimony at today’s Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2021
CONTACT: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031

The following statement is from Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-Staten Island) regarding New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker’s testimony at today’s Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health…

“Today’s hearing, unfortunately, left legislators and their constituents with more questions than answers.  It proved what many of my colleagues have been saying – that this budget hearing would not be the appropriate forum for a comprehensive analysis of the Cuomo Administration’s guidance on nursing homes from March of 2020 or the Administration’s underreporting of data pertaining to the more than 15,000 nursing home deaths that followed. 

For context – members are allotted three minutes each to ask their question(s) and hear the response(s).  Ranking Minority Members are allotted five minutes for this, while Committee Chairs are allotted up to ten minutes for this.  These time constraints force members to ask pointed questions and do not allow the individual testifying to provide a detailed answer. 

While I am not a member of any of the committees that participated in today’s budget hearing, I did monitor Commissioner Zucker’s testimony, which spanned several hours.  Today’s hearing makes clear the need for not only a legislative hearing dedicated to these concerns specifically but also an independent investigation to determine whether the Cuomo Administration’s actions were criminal or unethical.

New Yorkers want transparency and they are demanding accountability.  Albany Democrats, especially those in leadership, are in a position to make this happen.  We can start by having the Assembly and Senate pass a concurrent resolution to revoke Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers immediately.  This would not only allow the State Legislature to reclaim its rightful place as a check on the Governor but also ensure that the State Legislature can get back to handling the people’s business.”

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