NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he seeks to end weeks of bitter turmoil over nursing home deaths by asking lawmakers to work with him to pass a budget, reform nursing homes and rebuild the economy.
But he also served notice on his enemies – personal and political – that he will be “aggressive” in pointing out where they are wrong, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.READ MORE: FBI, U.S. Attorney Reportedly Investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID Task Force Amid Questions About Nursing Home Deaths
It was classic Cuomo: a vow to play whack-a-mole and go after anyone who he says wrongly accuses him of increasing nursing home deaths.
“You have to knock it down and counter it aggressively, otherwise people will believe it,” the governor said.
At the same time, Cuomo realized that the ugly back and forth with the legislature has to stop.
“I said to the legislative leaders… we have a lot of work to do and I want to take the tone down,” he said.
While lawmakers will certainly try to exact their pound of flesh by trying to curtail his executive powers, the governor and the legislature have a lot on their plate that will require cooperation.READ MORE: Gov. Cuomo Takes Responsibility For Information ‘Void’ On Nursing Homes, Insists There Was No Cover-Up
The budget is due April 1 and will require compromises on things like taxes, legalizing marijuana and sports betting, and how New York will recover it’s past glory.
“We face probably the greatest challenge that this state has faced in modern history. We have to rebuild the economy. And right now we have a hemorrhaging situation. We have New York City hemorrhaging people and revenue,” Cuomo said.
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Health Commissioner Howard Zucker defended his decision to send COVID patients back to nursing homes.
The governor asked the legislature to enact much needed reforms, including limiting nursing home profit margins to provide more money for staff and care.
“I will not sign the budget without this nursing home reform,” said Cuomo.MORE NEWS: Siena Poll: Despite Controversy Over Nursing Home Deaths, New Yorkers Still Approve Of Gov. Cuomo’s Handling Of Pandemic
The governor also offered an olive branch to those whose loved ones are in nursing homes. He lifted the visitation ban, reuniting families with loved ones they probably haven’t seen in nearly one year.