New York State's Senate and Assembly put Health Department Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on the hot seat during their virtual budget hearing on healthcare Thursday.

It was a budget hearing via Zoom, but Legislators on both sides of the isle were looking for more than budgetary answers. The hot topic was questions about the nursing home scandal that's been plaguing the Cuomo Administration over the last several weeks.

Senator Sue Serino, a Republican from Dutchess County, pushed hard on Zucker to answer questions about nursing home reform, the cover-up of numbers, vaccinations and general handling of the pandemic during the hearing.

“The Health Commissioner’s testimony today focused on reforms included in the State Budget proposal, but how can we talk about reform when there has not been a comprehensive review of where the state or others really went wrong,” said Serino.

“As committee members, we were limited to only three minutes to ask questions and get answers from the Commissioner in a hearing where a number of other issues related to the health budget also needed to be addressed. That is a far cry from the thorough, independent investigation New Yorkers deserve on this issue of the state’s handling of the COVID crisis in our nursing homes and residential healthcare facilities," said Serino in statement afterward.

Republican Senator Joe Griffo of Rome was well aware that each legislator was given only a few minutes for the question/answer process and he demanded quick answers of the Commissioner. Griffo grilled Dr. Zucker over shortened hearings and few opportunities for legislators to get answers. "So this is just a yes or a no! Are you willing to do it commissioner," directed Griffo, referring to an extended sit-down with elected officials.

Listen to the full clip below.


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