Valesky Slams Gianaris’ ‘Corrosive’ Minimum Wage Criticism (Update)
The IDC trotted out it’s lone upstate (read: North of Albany) member, Syracuse-area Sen. Dave Valesky, to defend the honor of the breakaway Democratic conference against criticism lodged this morning by his old colleague, Sen. Mike Gianaris.
Gianaris, who serves as the deputy leader of the “regular” Democrats – (or, if you prefer, minority conference) – decried the reported minimum wage deal reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders as “half a loaf,” and said the promise of a “progressive agenda,” which served as the basis for IDC leader Jeff Klein’s rationale for joining forces with the Republicans in the first place, is not being fulfilled.
UPDATE: I’ve edited the paragraph that appears above to make clear the fact that Gianaris did not directly attack Klein.
He did, however, say that a progressive agenda is being “hindered” by the “strange arrangement” that’s currently in charge of the Senate.
The Democrats have repeatedly said that they – counting both the regulars and the IDC – appear to have sufficent votes to pass a minimum wage bill that would be more appealing to the left – in other words, one that includes indexing, if only the GOP would let such a measure come to the floor for a vote.
In a prepared statement attributed to Valesky and sent to reporters by IDC spokesman Eric Soufer, the Central New York senator called Gianaris’ comments “corrosive to the legislative process” and insisted that the minimum wage compromise – a phased in boost to $9 an hour over three years, no indexing future hikes to the rate of inflation and no so-called “training wage,” as the Senate Republicans had hoped – actually proves the IDC-GOP coalition is working.
“It is exactly that type of absolutism that prevented progress in the past,” Valesky said of Gianaris’ criticism. “In fact, it is the reason we formed the IDC and the reason why coalition government has been so successful.”
“With respect to discussions on the minimum wage, in my position as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, I am charged with the responsibility of balancing the needs of workers with the legitimate concerns of the small business community. I think that the minimum wage proposal reportedly under discussion in leaders’ meetings strikes that balance, and underscores how the best policies are achieved through thoughtful and inclusive dialogue, not divisive and partisan rhetoric.”
The very fact that the IDC was willing to come out with both verbal guns blazing on this suggests the conference is feeling a little sensitive on this question of the minimum wage deal – especially Klein, who made it a top priority and repeatedly insisted that it be part of the budget, even when Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the governor seemed perfectly willing to deal with it as a post-budget matter.
Also, it’s noteworthy the IDC had Valesky do the dirty work here, avoiding any chance of observers suggesting that Klein was merely slamming Gianaris as a result of the bad blood between them.
It has been reported on many occasions that the two just simply don’t like one another, although they’ve both insisted at various times that’s not the case.
It’s without question, however, that Gianaris supplanted Klein as DSCC chairman in 2010, thanks to former Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, which helped spur Klein to bolt the regular Democrats and form the IDC in the first place, although it was hardly the only motivation he had for doing so.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on March 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm, and is filed under Democrats, IDC, Minimum Wage, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|