Monday, April 20, 2009

Smith not going to horse trade

The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

April 20, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is sticking to his guns on gay marriage, insisting that he won't heed the governor's call to bring his program bill to the floor regardless of whether it has sufficient votes to pass.

"I'm very concerned about putting a bill on the floor that's going to be symbolism and not pass," the Queens Democrat said. "...I'm going to count until I know that I have 32 if not 34. I'm not going to move it on the floor if I don't have the numbers that I need."

Smith, who spoke briefly with reporters at the DRC meeting in Saratoga Springs last Friday night, also said that when it comes to marriage, he's "not going to get into horse trading" - a time-honored Albany tradition in which seemingly unrelated issues are linked in order to assure their passage by the Legislature.

"I'm not going to get into horse trading," Smith said. "This is the right issue. if you want to be on the right side of history then I think you should support this."

Interestingly, Smith seems to be ready to deal when it comes to the MTA bailout, reportedly offering recalcitrent Senate Republicans cash for upstate roads and bridges (with the revenue generated by tax hikes - likely a difficult proposition for the GOP to swallow), increased staffing allocations and pork projects in exchange for their "yes" votes.

Smith also said he doesn't intend to back down from his personal support of same-sex marriage to assuage the displeasure of religious leaders over gay marriage, which includes his own pastor and political mentor, the Rev. Floyd Flake.

Smith revealed the reason he did not attend Paterson's marriage press conference in Manhattan last week was because he was meeting with religious leaders at his district office.

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