GOP, Independent Dems Claim NY Senate Majority


Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Rockville, talks with reporters after a meeting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Friday, March 25, 2011.(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference on Tuesday struck a deal to take control of the Senate in an unprecedented power-sharing deal.


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The announcement appears to dash the hopes of the traditional Democratic conference that it would take majority control after winning more seats in the November elections.

Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and IDC leader Jeffrey Klein announced the partnership Tuesday. It means the GOP and independent Democrats will share control of moving legislation and even in negotiating a state budget with the Assembly speaker and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The deal will create a third conference for the IDC members under the Senate rules.

“We’ve brought spending under control, ended Albany dysfunction and consistently delivered the bipartisan results New Yorkers need and deserve — even on many of the most difficult issues,” Skelos said. “Sen. Klein has proven to be a thoughtful and effective leader, and I look forward to partnering with him to move this state forward.”

Klein praised Skelos and echoed his sentiments on the union.

“Having worked together over the past two years, I know that Sen. Skelos is not only an effective leader but is as committed as I am to delivering major bipartisan results for all New Yorkers,” Klein said.

Under the agreement, the position of temporary president of the Senate, the leadership post, will alternate between Republicans and the five-member IDC every two weeks.

To pull off the bold move, Republicans and the IDC will have to vote for the leader and the new rule with at least 32 votes. The partnership should provide at least 35 votes.

There was no immediate comment from the traditional Democratic conference.

The Republicans and IDC have worked closely for two years since the independent Democrats broke from the traditional conference after two years of chaotic rule in the Senate, mostly under a brief Democratic majority.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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