Governor Murphy Needs to Face the Music for Nursing Home Deaths, Legislators Say

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TRENTON, NJ – With a federal investigation underway into the deaths of seniors at state-run nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic under the leadership of Governor Phil Murphy, Republicans in Trenton say the Governor needs to stop trying to kick the can down the road.

Although Murphy has signaled his acceptance to a proper bi-partisan investigation into the matter, the administration and Trenton Democrats have avoided the measure in the nearly two years since.

On the second anniversary of the initial confirmed COVID infection at a state-operated veterans’ home, Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Ed Durr are demanding accountability from the Murphy Administration, the NJ Senate Republicans said in a statement today.

“It has been two long, painful years for the families who lost loved ones in the veterans’ facilities, and we’re no closer to getting to the truth about what happened than we were in the heart of the pandemic,” said Pennacchio (R-24).

“Governor Murphy has repeatedly referred to an eventual investigation of his pandemic decisions as a ‘post-mortem,’ which is a post-death examination. Even he seems to recognize that his orders for nursing homes and veterans’ homes to take sick patients at the start of the COVID crisis proved deadly,” Pennacchio continued. “We deserve to know why he took that step and fully understand the devastating impact of that order.”

“After the Governor’s fateful directive requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients and prohibiting administrators from testing for the virus, 10,000 vulnerable seniors were lost, including more than 200 in veterans’ homes operated by the state,” the GOP caucus announced.

“Now that the public health emergency is over and there is no imminent threat from the virus, the families of the victims in those facilities are owed the detailed investigation the governor promised repeatedly but continues to sidestep,” said Durr (R-3). “Grieving families haven’t forgotten, and neither have we. That’s why we need a committee with subpoena power. There is still plenty of unfinished business.”

“State residents feel like the Governor is giving them the run-around. It is disrespectful and indefensible,” said Pennacchio, who has been pressing for a bipartisan Senate investigative committee since May 2020. “How about the people in my district were more concerned about how their parents and grandparents were slaughtered in nursing homes because of State policies than the legislatures obsession with Woke policies of protecting prisoners.”

“It is becoming more of a bipartisan effort to get to the truth,” said a hopeful Pennacchio. “This is about people, not politics. The Democrats in the Legislature are protecting their Governor when New Jersey families should be the priority. Both sides of the aisle should come together and pass SR-48. Murphy needs to know it is time to come clean.”