Parties Fight Over How to Be Bi-Partisan, Immediate Inaction Results

ALBANY—Democrats in the State Senate are acknowledging (at least temporary) rejection in their offer of three committee chairmanships to Republicans.

“We will not have a formal announcement this week but we will be making an announcement shortly about one of our proposals to create a more bi-partisan chamber,” said Austin Shafran, a Democratic spokesman. Yesterday, Republicans said they wanted to look more comprehensively at reform, and were able to reel back three senators–George Maziarz, Tom Morahan and Joe Robach–who had considered taking the posts. Maziarz, sources say, is still on the fence.

Shafran attacked the Republicans for resisting the Democratic effort, which was partially motivated by divisions within their own conference laid bare by their 32-30 majority.

“We offered an open hand of bi-partisanship, and unfortunately, we’ve been met with some amount of skepticism and the closed fist of political bickering. But we remain steadfast in our commitment to create a more bi-partisan chamber, and to that end, to appoint minority members to the chairs of major senate committees.”

John McArdle, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Democrats are being hypocritical.

“The irony of the majority!” McArdle said. “I would just say it took a revolution in the senate to get them to even consider reform. That’s what it took for them to even start considering reforms. There’s a whole host of things that should be considered in addition to bi-partisan committee chairs.”