There’s not yet a bill strengthening New York’s abortion laws that could pass the state Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded earlier this week, but could there be if the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference hadn’t partnered with Republicans?
That’s a question that’s been lobbed back and forth at the state Capitol as Cuomo and women’s groups try to drum up support for the 10-point “Women’s Equality Act,” which includes an abortion measure. The majority coalition, which thwarted Democrats’ possible ascent to power in the chamber, might serve as an obstacle to the bill coming up for a vote. But it doesn’t matter, because the votes aren’t there, IDC Leader Jeffrey Klein argued.
“I think more than anything, we need a calculator, because we need the votes to be able to pass women’s reproductive health. And last I checked, we don’t have 32 Democrats to pass this,” Klein told reporters Tuesday, referencing that there are pro-life Democrats in the Senate. “That means, we need to figure out a way to have a bipartisan agreement, and so far, that doesn’t seem to be happening.”
Sen. Diane Savino, a Brooklyn member of the IDC, reiterated Klein’s point to “Capital Tonight.” She said: “(I)t doesn’t matter who’s in charge of the Senate. And it doesn’t matter whether there’s a coalition or there’s a straight up Republican or Democrat majority. There are not 32 living votes in the Senate for that bill.”
Sen. Liz Krueger, who sits with the main Democratic conference in the Senate, took issue with the IDC members comments. She argued the IDC’s choice to partner with Republicans is to blame for the bill stalling in the Senate.
If it could come for up for a vote, some Republicans would vote for it, she said in a statement Friday.
“The IDC’s talking points seem to be assigning blame for a failure on reproductive choice that hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen at all, if we work together,” she said. “These comments speak to the IDC’s own denial over the consequences of their decision to give control of the legislative agenda to an anti-choice Republican minority, more than they speak to any political reality.
“The IDC spokesman and Senator Klein have implied that (Senate GOP Leader Dean) Skelos’ unwillingness to allow a bill to the floor is irrelevant because ‘there aren’t enough votes’ in the Democratic conference,” she continued. “If the bill goes to the floor—which it certainly would with a Democratic majority setting the agenda—I have confidence that it will gain enough cross-party support to pass.”
Pictured: Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan