Silver: Deal On Congressional Lines “Unlikely”

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said it’s “unlikely” a deal will be struck with the Senate on new congressional districts, given that a panel of federal judges will consider a special master’s proposal on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters inside the Assembly chamber today, the Manhattan Democrat said negotiations on congressional lines have continued, but no deal is imminent.

“We have been talking about it, but I don’t know if it’s possible,” Silver said.

U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann — who was appointed by the three-judge panel to interject in the state’s congressional line-drawing process — issued her final recommendation minutes before midnight last night. The plan will be put to a public hearing Thursday in Brooklyn before the panel decides whether to accept it.

Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans, who control the Legislature’s redistricting task force, have been unable to come to a deal on how to eliminate two congressional districts. (New York loses two seats in 2013 because of its slow rate of growth, according to the 2010 census.)

Meanwhile, the two majority conferences released their final proposals for new state Senate and Assembly lines earlier this week. Silver said they will vote on those lines “before the end of the week;” under state law, they can be voted on as early as Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, has vowed to veto the state lines unless lawmakers agree to a constitutional amendment and accompanying statute to reform the redistricting process. Lawmakers released a proposed constitutional amendment earlier this week; Silver said negotiations on the statute are “very active,” but didn’t reveal any additional details.

Here’s a (shaky-handed and raw) video of Silver speaking to reporters:

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