A group of Republican senators are demanding Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., hold a hearing on the nursing home deaths under blue state governors.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, led the charge calling for a hearing on the nursing home deaths in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania in a letter sent to Durbin on Friday.
Ten of Cruz's fellow Senate Republicans joined him on the letter, writing that congressional oversight "is needed to ensure the protection of seniors’ civil rights."
The senators wrote that congressional oversight also was needed to "seek justice" for the nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 after the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division recently announced it would not be investigating the states that implemented policies requiring nursing homes to take in coronavirus-positive patients.
"This decision not to pursue potential civil rights violations in states with high-profile Democrat governors raises serious concerns that the Biden administration is acting based on politics, not the law," the senators wrote in the letter.
Cruz and his fellow Republicans wrote there is "ample basis to investigate the nursing home response" in the four states "particularly in light of the billions of dollars that Congress appropriated for the COVID-19 response."
"These four states pressured nursing homes to accept patients with active COVID-19 infections who were being discharged from hospitals at the height of the pandemic," they wrote, adding that the states "did so despite directions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that hospitals should not discharge patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis to a long-term care facility unless."
"By discharging patients to long-term care facilities, the states likely increased the case rate or fatality risks for nursing homes," they wrote. "And then, to cap it off, there is significant evidence that Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and his senior staff engaged in a cover-up to minimize the death toll in these facilities."
The lawmakers said America needs "to understand what happened" and to what "extent" the states broke federal law and pointed out that Republicans have been calling for a hearing on the subject for months.
"At the time we called for a hearing in February, our purpose was to promote transparency for the American people on this issue and to determine whether ‘the Department of Justice has all the tools and funding that it needs to investigate and prosecute to the extent necessary this tragedy,’" they wrote.
"Now, with the Department’s decision not to open a CRIPA investigation, a hearing is needed for those same reasons, as well as to ensure that the Department is acting impartially and in accordance with the law," the senators continued.
Joining Cruz on the letter are Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.