Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, called from Washington D.C. this afternoon as he, Governor Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, were between meetings with New York’s congressional delegation.
He too said he was embarrassed by the lack of action Tuesday by the state Legislature. But he said they will work better when Democrats take over the Senate in January.
“They treat the minority a little differently,” he said of Senate Republicans. “They did not give us the amount of respect in the house that I will give to the Republican conference in the minority. I will give them that kind of input and opportunity to be involved.”
Smith said the Democratic leaders had already met with Reps. Nita Lowey, Jose Serrano and Charles Rangel. They were meeting later in the day with other Washington leaders, including Sen. Charles Schumer.
The state leaders are pushing for a federal stimulus package to help states, and Smith said they also want to let Washington know that New York will first help themselves out of this crisis.
“I wanted to reassure our congressional delegation that we are going to get our fiscal house in order and that we understand that we have to control spending and cut back on the bloated government that we had,” said Smith (above with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos at yesterday’s leaders’ meeting.)
Moreover, he said the stimulus package and a bailout of the automobile industry would help upstate New York, which has about 8,500 jobs tied to the automobile sector.
“We couldn’t get it done in Albany yesterday, but we are right back to work today in Washington explaining to them that we will be responsible in January and we need their help,” Smith said. “We can’t cut our way back to prosperity. We’ll have to do things to create jobs.”