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Some New York lawmakers are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be stripped of the emergency powers he was granted to handle New York's coronavirus pandemic. The fallout comes amid more revelations the Cuomo administration initially undercounted nursing home deaths; CBS2's Andrea Grymes reports.
DANA TYLER: Some New York lawmakers are calling for Governor Cuomo to be stripped of the emergency powers he was granted to handle New York's coronavirus pandemic. This fallout comes amid more revelations the Cuomo administration initially undercounted nursing home deaths. CBS 2'S Andrea Grymes reports tonight.
ANDREA GRYMES: Secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa usually sits next to Andrew Cuomo at press conferences, but now finds herself in the hot seat. She's under fire for comments she made to a virtual meeting with state Democratic lawmakers about information they requested on nursing home deaths during the pandemic. Queens Assemblyman Democrat Ron Kim was on the call. His uncle also died in a nursing home
RON KIM: You can't hide information because you think you could be politically hurt in the process.
ANDREA GRYMES: Today, the governor's office released a meeting transcript. In its DeRosa explains the delay in giving state lawmakers information, saying around the time the legislature requested it in August, quote, "President Trump turns this into a giant political football. He directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us. Basically, we froze because then we were in a position where we weren't sure if what we were going to give to the DOJ or what we give to you guys was going to be used against us." She goes on to say auditing the exact number of nursing home deaths between those who died in homes and those who died off site was a "massive undertaking" during the height of the pandemic.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were quick to criticize, but Republicans especially.
WILL BARCLAY: We need to get people subpoenaed. We need to get them under oath and find out who knew what when.
ANDREA GRYMES: They, along with other critics and families, have long accused the Cuomo administration of purposely covering up the exact death toll in nursing homes to hide how state policies may have affected it.
VIVIAN ZAYAS: They played football with my mom and the dads and the grandparents, all to protect their power.
ANDREA GRYMES: Today, after that firestorm of criticism, DeRosa tried to clarify her remarks, saying, in part, quote, "We could not fulfill the legislature's request as quickly as anyone would have liked."
In addition to all of this, a bipartisan group of 14 state senators called on the chamber to repeal Governor Cuomo's expanded emergency powers granted last March. It let the governor make unilateral decisions during the pandemic. The group says it's now time for the legislature to govern as a coequal branch of government. On the Upper East Side, Andrea Grymes, CBS 2 News.