Republican members of the House Oversight Committee are investigating five Democratic governors for their decision to mandate nursing homes to take untested, if not COVID-19 positive, patients during the pandemic.
This is shaping up to be an investigation into whom to blame for nursing home deaths, the federal government or the Democratic states that forced nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients before they were prepared to handle them, according to the GOP members of the House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
“The decision of several governors to ignore federal protocols and instead mandate COVID positive patients be forced back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence for tens of thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” Ranking Member Steve Scalise, R-La., wrote in a statement to Newsmax TV’s Emerald Robinson. “We owe it to those who died and their grieving families to get to the bottom of why these deadly decisions were made by these governors, ensure we stop this from still taking place, and prevent tragedies like these from happening again as we continue to battle this deadly virus.”
The five Democratic governors, most of the leading Trump administration antagonists in some of the blue states where the coronavirus caused the most infections and deaths in the U.S., received letters:
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
“We write to you seeking information, at a granular level, about the science and information used to inform your decision to mandate nursing homes and long-term care facilities admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals,” the letters, obtained by Newsmax TV’s Robinson, read. “This decision likely contributed to the thousands of elderly deaths in [state specific].”
The letters are signed by the five GOP members on the 12-member subcommittee:
- Rep. Scalise.
- Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
- Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.
- Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.
- Rep. Mark E. Green, R-Tenn.
The letters call for documents and data related to the governor’s mandate and a briefing to their committee no later than June 18.
“The vast majority of those dying in nursing homes are located in the states that blew off the president’s direction and the CDC’s guidance,” Rep. Green wrote in a statement provided to Robinson. “The governors of these states must provide details about their decisions to send contagious COVID-19 patients into nursing homes. The American people, and their loved ones, deserve answers.”
The GOP-led effort to hold Democratic-led states accountable for their “epic fail” of endangering the lives of elderly and vulnerable – as quoted from the letter to Michigan Gov. Whitmer – comes after Subcommittee Chairman James Clyburn, D-S.C., called for holding the Trump administration responsible for nursing home deaths.
“We need the federal government to ensure our nursing homes have enough testing and personal protective equipment to stop the virus from spreading,” Clyburn wrote Friday in a press release. “That means providing coordination and resources — not just leaving it up to the states.”
Also Monday, Rep. Clyburn and the committee Democrats called for an investigation into the Trump administration for the disbursement of Payroll Protection Program funds.
“The CARES Act specifically encouraged SBA to issue guidance ‘to ensure that the processing and disbursement of covered loans prioritizes small business concerns and entities in underserved and rural markets,’ including businesses owned by veterans, members of the military, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and women,” the Select Subcommittee Members wrote. “Unfortunately, SBA and Treasury failed to issue clear guidance, potentially undermining this core principle of the program.
“Despite Congress’ clear intent, this guidance made no mention of prioritizing loans to underserved communities.”