Senate Republicans are taking Democrats to task for walking out of the Senate chambers late Wednesday, saying it was illustrative of their failed leadership in the majority in 2009 and 2010.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, ripped Democrats for staging a walkout during the Senate session during the debate over redistricting, saying they walked out like “little children.”
Now the Senate Republican Campaign Committee is out with this missive in an email this morning, saying the Democrats’ move “was reminiscent of the worst days of 2009 and 2010 when Senate Democrats lowered the performance and reputation of New York State government to new depths.”
If you forgot, Senate Democrats were in charge during the 2009 coup — when two New York City Democrats, Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate — defected to join 30 Republicans to overthrow the Democratic majority. It led to a monthlong shut down of state government, until Espada and Monserrate returned the the Democratic conference.
Updated: Here’s Senate Democrats’ response:
“What we witnessed last week was a continued assault on the principles of democracy, open government and substantive debate. Our State Government is once again an embarrassment to the concept of fair representation. Senate Republicans stifled debate on the floor of the Senate on the most crucial pieces of legislation. Senate Republicans have proven over and over again that they would rather cut off debate and dialogue then deal with issues that are crucial to New York. Senate Republicans blatantly lied to the people of New York about their pledge on redistricting. ”
Here’s the GOP e-mail:
Senate Democrats Walk Away
New Yorkers got an ugly reminder this week of just how bad things once were at the State Capitol, when Democrats controlled both houses of the Legislature and every branch of state government.
Since then, bipartisanship and cooperation had replaced animosity and dysfunction—until Wednesday night.
That’s when Senate Democrats, in a clear effort to derail Governor Cuomo’s reform agenda, simply walked away.
After hours spent trying to delay and stall passage of bills to finally reform government pensions and education, and to fix the way New York sets its legislative and congressional districts, Minority Leader John Sampson ordered the Democrats to march out of the Senate.
Instead of voting on the bills, as required, the Democrats were recorded as “absent.”
The scene was reminiscent of the worst days of 2009 and 2010 when Senate Democrats lowered the performance and reputation of New York State government to new depths.
Despite the antics, the bills passed anyway, with the support of a few Democrats who stayed behind, and were seconded without incident by the Assembly, proving bipartisanship is still alive and well in some corners of the Capitol.
The legal term for refusing to vote in the Senate is “contempt,” and that’s exactly what Democrats showed for the voters and citizens of New York by their childlike antics.