Such a bill will not solve the issues at hand. There have been signs of progress at the bargaining table, but in order for a real deal to be made, both sides need to make major concessions. This country needs both spending cuts and an increase in revenue. Republicans must be prepared to make a major concession on taxes.
If nothing gets passed, every single taxpayer will pay more taxes come January. This country doesn’t deserve to experience the reality of what will happen if no bill is passed.
In Albany, meanwhile, what was a strong bipartisan union now shows some signs of coming apart at the seams. However, I’m not worried.
Governor Cuomo and the Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Centre, have always managed to put partisanship aside and work together for the good of our state. They need to iron out the wrinkles that have appeared as the new coalition takes shape in the State Senate.
As you may recall, Skelos formed a coalition with a group of five dissatisfied and disenfranchised Democrats. As a result of this new coalition, the Republicans were able to maintain control of the Senate.
Governor Cuomo has laid out his policy agenda for 2013, and many members of the new Independent Democratic Caucus support him. However, conservatives and some Republicans are unsure whether the governor’s liberal social policy agenda, which includes priorities such as a minimum-wage hike and campaign finance reform, are their priorities as well.
Cuomo has said that his support for the new coalition is “conditional,” depending on mutual support for his agenda.
Senate Republicans have a proven record of working with Cuomo. Unlike Washington, where there is a tepid history of bipartisan policymaking, I know that in Albany there is more willingness to work together.
People want peace and an end to partisan bickering. To our elected officials: Please, give people one less thing to worry about at night.
And to all of you: Don’t forget to kiss your children and tell them every day how much you love them. God bless the people of Newtown.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.