Assembly Dems Look To Turn The Page
A week ago, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was the unquestioned leader of the chamber, sitting atop the dais with statewide elected officials as Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his State of the State address and budget proposal.
Now, Silver is on the way out as speaker following his arrest on corruption charges.
Silver is yet to formally resign, but lawmakers anticipate a vacancy either way in the Assembly speaker’s office come Monday, when they plan to install Majority Leader Joe Morelle as acting speaker.
But state lawmakers on Wednesday were relieved the ordeal of getting to the point where Silver’s continued tenure as speaker was untenable had finally been reach after two days of marathon meetings in Albany.
Pushing Silver out led to the cancellation of two session days and a forecasted snowstorm led to a budget hearing on local government issues to be postponed.
Now, lawmakers said on Wednesday they were eager to move beyond the Silver scandal and deal with Cuomo’s $142 billion spending proposal.
The Senate and Assembly today are back in business, holding a joint legislative budget hearing on the environment.
“The mood is we are back to work,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright, one of at least three candidates to replace Silver in the long term. “It actually feels really, really good to sit in a Ways and Means hearing talking about environmental conservation and getting back to the work that we do.”
He added, “The institution will carry on, we’ll move on and we have to do the work of the people we represent.”
But a potentially more fractious fight is looming, as the Democratic conference must pick a new Assembly leader by Feb. 10.
“It’s been hard enough just to get this point,” said Albany Assemblywoman Pat Fahy when asked if she had a preferred candidate. “I’m reserving all judgment.”
As for Silver, it’s unclear why he is yet to resign his post. It’s possible he may still be holding out his resignation as a bargaining chip of some sort.
“I’m going to leave that up to him,” Fahy said. “I guess I’m working under the assumption that he will resign. My sense is he will do what’s best for the better. So I’m working under the assumption that he will resign as speaker.”
Fahy also insisted the fight over the speakership won’t delay the passage of the budget, due March 31, or the need to re-elect members to the Board of Regents, due March 10.
“I think so,” she said. “I don’t see any reason why not. I don’t see any reason why we won’t meet these other deadlines.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 28, 2015 at 2:37 pm, and is filed under Assembly. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|