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New Jersey Senate Minority Leader Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield).

Republicans repeat call for nursing homes select committee

By Nikita Biryukov, January 26 2021 4:59 pm

Senate Republicans repeated their plea in a letter to Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) for a select committee investigation into the state’s handling of the virus in its long-term care centers Tuesday.

“After months of delay and inaction, it is time for you to formally constitute the investigative body that was promised to help us understand how the executive branch’s response to COVID-19 has contributed to the massive loss of life in New Jersey’s long-term care (LTC) facilities, with the goal of saving lives in the future,” all 15 of the minority caucus’s members said in the letter.

Republicans have sought such a probe for months, and have repeatedly called on Sweeny to form the committee.

The Democratic leader agreed in May, but no committee was empaneled. An investigation into nursing homes could prove politically damaging to Murphy as he prepares to seek re-election.

The campaign is likely to be dominated by his handling of COVID-19, and former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the favorite for the Republican gubernatorial nod, has already launched numerous assaults along that line.

“To date, nearly 8,000 residents and staff of our nursing homes and veterans homes have died, with the loss of life still rising at a tragic rate. In fact, deaths in our nursing homes tripled in December from the prior month as the Murphy administration bungled paperwork delaying the start of the vaccination process in these facilities,” the Republicans said.

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