The Department of Justice (DOJ) will not be opening a civil rights investigation into nursing home deaths in four states, rejecting calls from Republicans earlier this year for a probe.
In a letter shared by Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse passes bill to prevent shutdown and suspend debt limit Democrats to nix B for Israel's Iron Dome from bill to avert shutdown Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE (R-La.), the DOJ said it had decided against opening an investigation into COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey.
"The Civil Rights Division requested information from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey regarding COVID-19 and nursing facilities run by, or for, those states," the DOJ said in its letter, signed by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joseph Gaeta.
"We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a [Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act] investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time," the DOJ added.
There are currently ongoing federal investigations into two nursing home facilities in New Jersey.
In March, Scalise joined a group of Republican U.S. senators in requesting that the DOJ investigate whether state officials had failed to comply with federal guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scalise blasted the DOJ's decision in a statement on Friday.
"It is outrageous that the Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly ‘must admit’ orders issued by governors in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that resulted in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens," the Louisiana Republican said.
"Where is the justice for nursing home victims and their grieving families? These deadly orders contradicted the CDC’s guidance, and needlessly endangered the most vulnerable among us to the deadly COVID-19 virus," Scalise added.