The Deficit Will Wait Until Next Week
November 10th, 2009
“Two bills,” that is what Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. replied when asked what he expected to achieve during today’s session.
After hours of waiting, protests, negotiations and general frustration the special session will not produce a vote on same-sex marriage or a deficit reduction package. Espada said he expected to be back on Monday to vote on a deficit reduction package and “marriage equality.” He said he expected Gov. David Paterson to admit that “progress had been made” in budget discussions.
Downstairs at nearly the same moment Paterson was saying almost exactly that. Paterson said he would call the legislature back to vote on budget cuts on Monday. “I mean I don’t want to infringe upon their negotiation. They put real numbers on the table now. We’re actually talking,” Paterson told reporters.
According to Paterson and other sources negotiations over a deficit reduction plan didn’t get “serious” until today. Paterson insisted that today’s special session had ignited discussions.
“We want a vote!” chanted proponents of gay marriage who had camped out in the hall in front of the room where the Senate Democratic conference was meeting.
Finally a little after 5 p.m. legislators began streaming out and towards the Senate chamber. The chants grew louder. “What do we want? Marriage equality! When do we want it? Now!”
Sen. Ruben Diaz, an avid opponent of marriage equality, strode past the protesters with his arm draped around the shoulders of Sen. Hiram Monserrate. A wide smile tore across Diaz’s face as he and Monserrate seemed to share a laugh.
“I don’t think it is Machiavellian,” said one observer commenting on the Senate Democrats. “They just don’t have their stuff together.”By David King on November 10, 2009, 6:10 pm
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