GOP lawmakers: US Dept of Justice will not pursue investigations into state nursing home orders, including New York

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) —Republican Congress members say the United States Department of Justice is refusing to investigate a mandate that many say led to unnecessary covid deaths in New York nursing homes.

In a statement, Republican Whip Steve Scalise blasted the agency for not investigating "must admit orders in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

In March 2020, Governor Cuomo issued a directive prohibiting nursing homes from denying admission to residents who had been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The policy was later reversed, but many critics say it led to unnecessary deaths.

News10NBC spoke to Deborah LaBello, her mother, Jean, currently lives at St. Ann’s Nursing Home in Rochester. She’s livid after reading the announcement.

"The empathy. I mean reading this it’s like this is cruel. It’s so disheartening. It’s like you just put them aside," said LaBello. "What does a family do with that? Especially the ones that lost someone. What do they do with that?"

LaBello’s mother luckily survived the pandemic, but says families will never get the closure they rightly deserve.

"My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones, and who are suffering without knowing what to do. What is the next thing that we’re supposed to do? Where else do we turn to?" said LaBello.

New York State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy released the following statement:

“This announcement from President Biden’s DOJ is a gross miscarriage of justice and a purely political decision designed to protect Democrat governors like Andrew Cuomo from the prosecution he deserves. Failing to even conduct an investigation is an outrageous affront to the thousands of families who lost loved ones at the hands of an asinine, illogical order that caused thousands of deaths in New York alone."

The Associated Press reached out to Governor Cuomo’s spokesperson, Richard Azzopardi, who declined to comment.

News10NBC sent emails to the DOJ for comment, but we have not heard back. We’ve also reached out to several lawmakers.

This is a developing story.