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Senate Republicans Urge Democrats to Stop Stonewalling Formation of Select Committee to Investigate 7,000+ Deaths at Veterans Homes, Nursing Homes & LTC Facilities

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Pennacchio Will Make Third Attempt Tomorrow to Call a Vote on Resolution Forming Investigative Committee with Subpoena Power to Develop Reforms & Save Lives

The Senate Republican caucus will continue its efforts to form a Senate select committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life and ensure the safety of vulnerable residents at New Jersey’s veterans homes, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities (LTCs).

During tomorrow’s Senate session, the Senate Republican caucus will continue its efforts to form a select committee with subpoena power to investigate the massive loss of life and ensure the safety of vulnerable residents at New Jersey’s veterans homes, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. (SenateNJ.com)

During tomorrow’s Senate session, Senator Joe Pennacchio will once again make a motion for the Senate to vote on a resolution he sponsors forming the “Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Two prior efforts by Pennacchio to move the resolution on May 14th and July 30th were immediately tabled by the Democratic majority.

Since early May, Senate Republicans have been pushing Senate Democrats to use their power as the majority party to form an investigative committee or to stop blocking Republican motions to advance SR-68, which would create the committee. In each and every attempt, the Republican efforts have been stonewalled by Democrats.

During that time, the Senate Republican caucus has written numerous formal letters to the Senate President, issued dozens of press releases highlighting the need for the investigation, reached out directly to Democratic leadership, and made motions during Senate sessions to move Pennacchio’s resolution, all to no avail.

To date, more than 7,000 residents and staff of the state’s long-term care facilities have perished due to COVID-19, including 148 deaths at New Jersey’s State-run veterans memorial homes in Paramus, Menlo Park, and Vineland.

The result of the Senate’s failure to act was clearly demonstrated by a recent news article that clearly contrasted the impact of New Jersey’s inaction with successful efforts by legislators in Massachusetts to form an investigative committee that proposed reforms that were adopted, lessening the loss of life in the Bay State’s veterans homes.

Prior to tomorrow’s Senate session, the Senate Republican caucus issued the following joint statement:

“We know that deaths could have been prevented had the Senate Majority heeded our call in May to form a bipartisan investigative committee with subpoena power. Had we acted months ago, we could have completed our investigation and developed and implemented life-saving reforms with the same level of success as our colleagues in Massachusetts.

“Even after this tragic delay, it’s not too late for the New Jersey Senate to come together in a bipartisan manner to do the right thing. We still have veterans who remain at risk, along with thousands of vulnerable residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities who deserve better protections.

“We urge our Democratic colleagues to join us in advancing SR-68 and beginning work on this important effort to save lives.”

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Chris Brown

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Anthony M. Bucco

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Gerald Cardinale

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Kristin Corrado

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Michael Doherty

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Jim Holzapfel

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Steven Oroho

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Declan O'Scanlon

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Joe Pennacchio

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Robert Singer

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Michael Testa

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Samuel Thompson

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