Republicans may be losing their power in the state Senate, as the group of breakaway Democrats that forms a majority with Republicans is effectively ending the bipartisan coalition. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
In an enormous power shift, the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, which is headed by Bronx Democrat Jeff Klein has agreed to end its power-sharing arrangement with Republicans. That sets the stage for a more liberal agenda in Albany.
"We think that we can best achieve that agenda post-November by forming a coalition with the Democrats, the IDC as a separate conference with the Democratic conference, to really move forth with a progressive agenda," Klein said.
The deal was brokered by union leaders, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who promised to campaign for a new Democratic majority when he received the Working Families Party endorsement last month.
In a statement, the governor said, "I applaud the IDC's decision. There is no doubt that we have accomplished much for the state over the past four years. We have transformed the state government from dysfunctional to highly functional, a deficit to a surplus, and losing jobs to gaining jobs. There is also no doubt there are progressive goals that we have yet to achieve and that we must accomplish next January."
Union leaders from across the city praised the new arrangement, which is contingent upon Democrats winning more seats in November, which is not a guarantee. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is confident Democrats will prevail.
"There's a good number more to be won, and there'll be a really energetic, well-resourced, unified effort to win more seats," de Blasio said.
In a statement, Republican Senate Conference leader Dean Skelos said, "It's unfortunate that Mayor de Blasio, the radical Working Families Party and their co-conspirators in the Senate Democratic Conference are attempting to take control of the New York State Senate. This 'agreement' is nothing more than a short term political deal designed to make threatened primaries go away."
The Senate is not due back in session until next January, which is the earliest that new rules could be adopted and a new majority formed, so any agreement before then, while significant, is not legally binding under the Senate rules.