Pennacchio: For failing to exercise oversight, the N.J. legislature co-owns nursing home deaths with Murphy

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s Democrat-led legislature has repeatedly failed to investigate the Murphy Administration’s COVID-19 response. On more than occasion, Republican attempts to advance legislation checking Governor Murphy’s power have been tabled. Now, one veteran state senator says his colleagues accross the aisle have taken ownership of the carnage.

“This is exactly what we were trying to prevent in the spring when we started calling for – pleading for – a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, and especially in our veterans and nursing homes,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) on Friday. “Utilizing subpoena power to compel witness testimony, we could have discovered which policies failed so changes could be made to ensure the same disastrous mistakes would not be repeated.”

“Now here we are six months later, and the state is still punching with a blindfold on. The results so far suggest not much has changed,” Pennacchio continued.

Approximately 50% of New Jersey’s COVID-19 deaths to date going back to the winter occurred in long-term care facilities. Early in the pandemic, the Murphy Administration made the fateful decision to bar long-term care facilities from screening for COVID-19 positive admissions. Thousands have since died, often alone without family or friends present.

“It must feel like Groundhog Day for nursing home residents, their families and caregivers, but this isn’t a comedy, it’s a horror movie,” added Pennacchio. “The Governor had time to address this, this Legislature had time to address this, but what has changed? Seniors are still being held hostage in homes while the virus spreads out of control.”