Senate Democrats today blocked an amendment to limit COVID funding to states that hide nursing home deaths. The amendment came as New York Governor Andre Cuomo is under increasing fire for covering up the number of seniors his order to put coronavirus patients in nursing homes killed.

Senator Tim Scott, a pro-life Republican from South Carolina, filed the amendment and criticized Democrats for blocking it on a 50-50 party-line vote. Democrats Joe Manchin and Bob Casey, although they say they are pro-life, voted against the amendment.

Our #COVID19 pandemic response must be driven by facts, but Democrats just blocked my amendment to ensure states that misreport nursing home deaths are held accountable. This is unacceptable. Our seniors deserve better,” he said in a Twitter post after the vote.

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Yesterday, a state judge has ruled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Health Department broke the law by refusing to provide a government watchdog group with the total nursing home death toll from COVID. He ordered Cuomo to release the figures within 5 days.

Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor criticized Governor Cuomo for telling the Empire Center for Public Policy “that it was unable to respond to the [Freedom of Information Law] request” since it was filed six months ago.

“DOH does not, in the Court’s opinion, offer an adequate explanation as to why it has not responded to that request within its estimated time period or to date,” O’Connor wrote in a 16-page decision this afternoon.

“Its continued failure to provide petitioner a response, given the straightforward nature of the request … goes against FOIL’s broad standard of open and transparent government and is a violation of that statute.”

Now Cuomo’s health department has five business days to turn over the death totals to the watchdog group and gave it 60 days to submit its legal and attorney fees so Cuomo’s office could reimburse it.

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