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Politics and Government

Senators spar over budget resolutions

Karen DeWitt
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris outside the Senate chamber Wednesday.

The smallest faction in the divided state Senate, the Independent Democratic Conference, has been permitted by the ruling party Republicans to issue its own alternate spending plan. That has angered the rest of the Democrats.

Currently, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have the same amount of members – 31 each – but the Democrats are divided, with eight members in a breakaway group that forms an informal ruling coalition with the GOP.

The Independent Democratic Conference was permitted for the first time to introduce its own budget plan, in addition to the Republicans’ proposal, to be debated on the floor. The rest of the Senate Democrats were not. That angered Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“I expected things to be more progressive,” Stewart-Cousins said. “But what I’m looking at now is frankly, a little more Trumpian.”

Senate Democrats have increasingly tried to tie the breakaway Democrats to Republican President Donald Trump, who is unpopular in New York.

The Democrats have little power to change things, though, since the IDC and Senate Republicans together could outvote them in a potential rules fight. The Democrats decided to stay in the chamber and debate anyway, saying they needed to get their proposals, including increasing school aid, across.