Cuomo: Senate Coalition Working
The experiment that is the power-sharing agreement between five independent Democrats and 30 Republicans is working, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Red Room news conference this evening.
This year’s budget negotiations have gone from three men in a room to four — adding IDC Leader and Co-President Jeff Klein to the bargaining table.
Cuomo said that four versus three in the room may be “cumbersome” but at this point in the year so far the agreement is functioning.
“I think at this point — again, whatever point we’re at … I think it’s all working,” Cuomo said. “I think the past two years and several months government has been working. I think the coalition is working. I think the relationship among the parties is working. Does that mean we’re going to get a budget done on time? No. But it’s working.”
Cuomo, a Democrat, declined to endorse a full Democratic takeover of the state Senate last year, instead endorsing a mix of lawmakers, including the IDC’s David Carlucci, mainline Democrat Joe Addabbo and Republican Steve Saland.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, included the popular governor’s image in their TV ads and mailers, a tactic that Cuomo did not discourage or encourage.
The coalition formed in December, with a unique power sharing agreement in which Klein and Republican Leader Dean Skelos share the Senate presidency.
Technically no lawmaker holds the title of “majority leader.” The deal requires Klein and Skelos to agree jointly which bills come to the floor and when.
Cuomo not dicouraging the arrangement led to some criticism on his left flank that he was essentially prohibiting a Democratic takeover of the Senate by allowing the GOP to retain control.
Both Klein and Skelos have pointed to the passage of January’s gun control law as a sign that the chamber could function and pass a complicated legislative package.
The budget is different animal and ideological landmines remain throughout the legislative session, including Cuomo’s plan to strengthen abortion rights as well as whether the minimum wage increase will be resolved.
But Cuomo hasn’t picked up on the reported split between Klein and Skelos over the wage issue.
“It’s a more complicated, more cumbersome prcoess, but I don’t think it’s working any better or less,” Cuomo said of the budget meetings.
As for whether life would be easier with mainline Senate Democrats in charge, Cuomo said there was no guarantee that could be the case.
“There are many people with many labels in this building you could never predict what they could do,” he said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|