The U.S. House of Representatives select subcommittee investigating the COVID-19 pandemic subpoenaed former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide testimony related to his administration’s handling of nursing homes during the outbreak, according to a letter obtained by Spectrum News 1.

The Republican-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic specifically wants to question Cuomo’s controversial March 25, 2020, state order that required nursing homes to take in COVID-19 positive patients if they were able to. The Associated Press reported a year later that, as a result, more than 9,000 COVID-19 patients were transferred into nursing homes between March and May 2020.

Two investigations by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the Cuomo administration under-counted the number of nursing home residents who died in the early months of the pandemic. 

“This misguided decision effectively admitted thousands of COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes, causing predictable but deadly consequences for New York’s most vulnerable,” the letter to Cuomo, written by Select Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Brad Wenstrup, reads.

Cuomo, out of office since 2021, has insisted the order was based, in part, on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance at the time, which stipulated nursing homes can only take these patients if they are prepared to do so. The order was preceded by a sharp increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state and fears the system would be quickly overrun with COVID patients.

New York, and in particular New York City, was the first places in the United States to be hit hard by the virus.

The former governor was asked in December to appear before the House select subcommittee and is now being subpoenaed to appear for a deposition on May 24 in Washington.

“His testimony is crucial to uncover the circumstances that led to his misguided policies and for ensuring that fatal mistakes never happen again. It is well past time for Cuomo to stop dodging accountability to Congress and start answering honestly to the American people,” Wenstrup said in a statement separate from the letter.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the former governor, called the subpoena “an obvious press charade.”

"The simple fact remains that this issue has been reviewed three times by the Department of Justice under Trump and Biden, as well as Congress and the Manhattan District Attorney who found no there there,” Azzopardi said in a statement. “New York followed the guidance put forth by the Trump administration in March of 2020 — as did other Democratic and Republican states. If they have a problem with that, they should look in the mirror. Congress knows this, but it’s not about the facts, this is about politics.”

Azzopardi also provided a letter from Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, dated March 4 arguing they provided four dates in the summer when Cuomo and she would be available for an interview.

A separate firm under a $4 million state contract to review New York's policies and decisions made during the pandemic expects to release a full report later this year.


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