New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and every member of the Senate Republican Conference today voted in unison against the Senate Democrats’ fake “repeal” of Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers. The bill (S5357) further emboldens the Governor’s stranglehold on total power by allowing him to extend and modify the mandates he has issued since first acquiring the powers in March 2020.
“The Governor is under multiple criminal investigations by the State Attorney General and U.S. Department of Justice. There is a dark cloud hanging over Albany and the entire State Government because of his conduct. So how do Democrats react? By further enabling his clear and multiple abuses of power, as they have for the better part of a year. Make no mistake -- in passing this useless bill, Democrats are not only continuing to abdicate their constitutional oaths as duly elected legislators -- they are complicit with Cuomo in any crimes he and his administration may have committed while in office,” said Senate Republican Leader Ortt.
Last year, Governor Cuomo was granted emergency powers at the onset of what became a once-in-a-century global pandemic.
The Governor has since abused the public trust repeatedly, whether it was his deadly March 25 directive to send more than 9,000 COVID-positive patients into New York nursing homes, the confirmed coverup of 15,000 nursing home deaths, or the growing allegations of bullying and sexual harassment that have been made against him and members of his administration in the past few weeks.
Since last May, the Senate Republican Conference has advanced an amendment to fully repeal the Governor’s emergency powers 22 times, including on the floor today. Every single member of the Senate Democrats rejected this effort all 22 times -- despite multiple statements and even legislation sponsored by one of their own members (S5254A) signaling they wanted to simply revoke the powers, strikingly similar to the Senate Republicans’ bill first introduced last May (S2246).
The Governor signaled his strong support for the Democrats’ deal on Wednesday, and even claimed his administration had a hand in crafting it, saying, “We’ve worked with the Legislature, we have an agreement on a bill.”
Though Democrat Leaders have denied the Governor’s claim, a February 14 media report suggested that some Democrat lawmakers previously floated using potential rescission of the emergency powers as leverage in State Budget negotiations -- something that could be legally construed as extortion and/or official misconduct.