Cuomo Defers Liberal Social Agenda to 2014


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that although his proposal to strengthen the effects Roe v. Wade appears blocked from this legislative session, he’s ready to make it a nasty issue in the 2014 election for some Senate Democrats.

Cuomo made the comments after the Independent Democratic Conference ended the chances of getting the proposal to the Senate floor before the session is scheduled to end Thursday. The Democratic governor said they made a political mistake that will cost then during next year’s legislative elections.

“They decided, by their actions, to deal with it in an election contest. I think it is a serious mistake,” said Cuomo, referring to the four breakaway Democrats who share majority control of the Senate with Republicans — Sens. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci — as “theoretically Democrats.”

The IDC isn’t giving up. They met with Cuomo privately shortly after his explosive remarks, but wouldn’t say what was discussed. Cuomo refused to respond to a question if he would oppose their re-election.

The IDC introduced its own bill Sunday night. It included nine of the 10 women’s measures Cuomo had proposed in January — and a few others — but not the central provision wanted by liberal women’s groups.

Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos had promised to block the proposal from a floor vote by using the veto power over bills which he and IDC leader Klein hold under their power-sharing agreement. Liberal groups had pushed Klein to find a way to force the measure to the floor through a parliamentary alternative, but there is doubt even among some advocates whether there would be enough Democratic votes to overrule Skelos.

The Assembly’s Democratic majority immediately rejected IDC’s alternative proposal.

“It’s unacceptable. We agree with the governor,” said Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “We won’t accept anything without the 10 points.”

The IDC broke from the traditional Democratic conference more than two years ago over leadership concerns stemming from gridlock during the Democrats’ brief control of the majority from 2008-10. Since then, the IDC has closely allied with Cuomo helping him achieve some of his toughest wins.

Monday’s Siena College poll found 53 percent of voters support Cuomo’s 10-point bill, with nearly twice as many Democrats and Republicans being supportive.