The chair of the Senate Health Committee Gustavo Rivera told Capital Tonight that Wednesday’s meeting with top Cuomo administration officials, which he attended, didn’t surprise him.
The meeting in question was a long-awaited three-hour Q&A between legislators and the administration to put to rest a series of questions that lawmakers had posed to the administration in a letter back on August 20.
During the meeting, the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted that the administration had delayed sending nursing data to lawmakers because it had been stymied by a request for information from a hostile U.S. Department of Justice just a few days later, on August 26.
DeRosa told lawmakers, “Basically, we froze.”
Rivera is a longtime critic of the Cuomo administration. He was one of the Democrats who did not vote to give Governor Cuomo emergency pandemic powers.
“I am not shocked or surprised that the administration is withholding data, it’s what I’ve been saying for months,” he said.
Ironically, Rivera says the administration was more forthcoming in the now controversial meeting than it had ever been before.
“The reality is, after seven months of stonewalling, they said that they wanted to have a meeting with us, and we agreed to have that meeting,” Senator Rivera said. “They were more candid in that conversation than they had been in a long time. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late. We still need more information, which is the reason I moved that bill a few days ago.”
The bill Senator Rivera is talking about would mandate that the Department of Health make all data available and transparent.
When asked if it’s time to use the legislature’s subpoena power on Governor Cuomo, Rivera said, “I have said that it should be something we should consider, and the answer is yes, that we should actually consider moving in that direction.”