Last Tuesday, The DREAM Act was quietly reintroduced in the Assembly. After failing on the Senate floor in March, suddenly the bill is back in play. So, what changed?
Governor Cuomo ( or someone who looks just like him ) told Erica Orden Recently that he plans to deliver on one of three priorities before the end of the legislative session: DREAM ACT, campaign finance reform or a reproductive health bill. Otherwise he would consider the coalition in the Senate between the Independent Democrats and the Republicans a “failure.” The focus for now seems to be on campaign finance. Furious discussions have been taking place behind the scenes. Sources say there is even a bill that would phase in publicly financed state elections for all offices by 2020. At the Republican convention last week, Republican Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos signaled that discussions are underway, but even if there is no agreement, he is doubtful that will greatly affect the delicate balance of power in Albany. He may be wrong.
Some advocates believe Skelos is paying lip service to a campaign finance deal. He is merely going through the motions, but thinks for now the pilot program for the Comptroller’s race ( approved in the budget ) is a good start, and let’s collect the data from that before doing anything more rash. The Reproductive Health Act recently failed in the Senate Health Committee which leaves the DREAM Act as maybe the most viable option. This is all part of a high stakes chess game so that Cuomo can claim victory on at least one piece of progressive legislation and avoid a challenge from the left.
But let’s say there is still no appetite for the DREAM ACT in the Senate. Then the Governor may have no choice but to broker a peace between the two warring Democratic factions and finally bring a Democratic majority back into the State Senate. Such a deal would allow IDC Leader Jeff Klein to retain his five member caucus, only he’d be Co-Leader of the united Democrats rather than the Republican-IDC coalition. Cuomo could plausibly say he tried to pass progressive legislation but failed, and now he is doing what he must to mollify the left. Insiders believe it might be his only play. Even though on a personal level he might have reservations.
Meantime, Queens Democrats voted this morning to back former Comptroller and New York City Mayoral Candidate John Liu in a Primary challenge against Senator Tony Avella who recently defected to the IDC. Former City Councilman Leroy Comrie also won the backing of the county organization to face embattled State Senator Malcolm Smith who is currently a man without a conference. And let’s not forget the Oliver Koppell challenge in the Bronx to Klein himself. Koppell may have a tough race, but if the goal was to annoy Klein the mission has already been accomplished.
So, the battles are being fought in the individual districts, much like the United States did battle against Russia by proxy throughout Latin America and Africa in the 1980s. It’s no longer a cold war between the two rival Democartic factions but a hot one with real artillery. Even if no nuclear weapons are used, that could still make for some awkward family reunions down the road if reunification ever comes to fruition.
The good thing about these guys? No one ever holds a grudge. ( Just kidding )
|Print article||This entry was posted by Zack Fink on May 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|