WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) opening statement at today’s Select Subcommittee’s hearing calls out Democrats for ignoring the deadly mistakes made in nursing homes by Democrat governors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whip Scalise criticizes Democrats on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis for prioritizing partisan politics over conducting fair oversight into the thousands of preventable nursing home deaths and subsequent attempts to cover them up. Additionally, Whip Scalise blasts Governor Cuomo for refusing to testify on his fatal decisions and trying to cover up the consequences:
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good afternoon. I’d like to thank the witnesses for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us today.
“I will keep my remarks brief to allow time for a short video from Janice Dean to be played afterwards. She and her family were affected in the worst way by the deadly nursing home policies put in place by a handful of governors at the beginning of the pandemic.
“But first, I have to say how disappointed and shocked I am by Congressional Democrats’ refusal to acknowledge the deadly mistakes that were made and subsequently covered up by certain blue state governors in nursing homes.
“It is incredibly sad that even after tens of thousands of preventable deaths, politics and coverups are still more important than conducting fair oversight and searching for the truth.
“The Trump Administration wrote numerous guidance documents to protect the elderly and the vulnerable in nursing homes, including limiting visitors, increasing protective equipment, and strengthening quarantining guidance.
“Despite coverups by governors, obstruction, and zero congressional oversight from committee Democrats, here’s what we know: completely ignoring the CDC and CMS scientific recommendation that positive patients NOT be admitted back to nursing homes without the availability of proper care, multiple blue state governors mandated that COVID positive patients be admitted or readmitted to the nursing home setting.
“As former CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, ‘under no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patient’s needs.’ Some states, including New York, went so far as to prohibit testing for sick patients. Following these unbelievably irresponsible ‘must admit’ orders, thousands of nursing home patients died.
“These orders were in direct conflict with the science.
“Then in New York, Governor Cuomo actively covered up the total number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths by not reporting nursing home residents that died in hospitals. Governor Cuomo and his team engaged in a coverup that was designed to deceive the public and protect the Governor’s image and personal profits from a multimillion-dollar book deal. He had millions of reasons to cover up the truth. No wonder Governor Cuomo refused our request to testify at this hearing.
“Republicans on this subcommittee have written to Cuomo’s administration seeking documents and information multiple times, beginning in June 2020. Unsurprisingly, we never received a response.
“I continue to be shocked that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have largely ignored this.
“Why is excessive and preventable death in nursing homes being made a partisan political issue?
“The Democrat party has consistently used the pandemic as a political tool to divide Americans and it has caused great harm and led to more distrust of public health officials.
“With that, I would like to take a couple minutes to share Janice Dean’s story. Mr. Chairman, could we please play the video that she submitted.
“Mr. Chairman, I would like to request unanimous consent for the Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and Representative from New York Ms. Stefanik to waive on for the purpose of questions.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.”