After Difficult Negotiations, Assembly Democrats Back Compromise
From the Morning Memo:
Assembly Democrats emerged from a closed-door conference late Tuesday afternoon resigned to back the agreement reached with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
The conference did not get everything it wanted — especially on the key issue of rent control — and Speaker Carl Heastie seemed to acknowledge that during a news conference with Cuomo in the Red Room.
“We’re always going to be about compromises,” Heastie said. “We stake out our positions early on and you try to work from there. We did the best that we could to get that done.”
Vacancy decontrol was not done away with, though Heastie was able to successfully push back on the education tax credit, a measure opposed by the state’s teachers unions that was heavily supported by Cuomo and the Senate GOP.
There was some talk of some rank-and-file lawmakers casting symbolic votes agains the legislation on the grounds it doesn’t go far enough on rent control.
Lawmakers aren’t blaming Heastie, but rather what they saw as a two-against-one negotiation, with Heastie seemingly outnumbered by Cuomo and Flanagan on the key issues.
“I don’t know what happened in there, but we were depending on him to extract the best deal from the Senate,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said of Cuomo.
Rosenthal was irked by Cuomo claiming his rent control extension package was ultimately superior to what Assembly Democrats had pursued.
“The Senate Republicans for the most part get not just their seed money, but their money to run for re-election from the landlord lobby — REBNY,” she said. “They were holding fast to their commitment to them. I was perturbed when the governor said he’s better on rent than the Assembly. He couldn’t have been better than us.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, a Rochester-area Democrat who sought the speakership after Sheldon Silver resigned following his arrest on corruption charges this year, said Heastie had the backing of the conference following the difficult round of negotiations.
“The Senate has very different views about what their priorities are,” Morelle said. “This was a challenge just to get to a consensus. I think the speaker has done an amazing job in negotiating it.”
The agreement’s details were yet to be hammered out on Tuesday and few lawmakers by the evening had more than the top-line information.
Still, it’s expected the compromise, with a four-year extension of rent control, is expected to hold.
“I think it will be fine. People in conference expressed their support for the speaker, they expressed their support of the package,” Morelle said. “A lot of details to work out, but I think in terms of the framework we’re in a good spot.”
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