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Senate Democrats and Klein Remain on Different Pages

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Senate Democrats and Klein Remain on Different Pages
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ALBANY, N.Y. — IDC leader Jeff Klein and Democrats were supposed to meet this week to discuss a possible co-leadership offer, but the meeting was canceled.

Klein says he is not interested, at least right now, in mending fences with his fellow Democrats.

"I think it's very clear that this coalition has been working very well. We don't always agree on everything, but I think we've been very successful in really finding common ground," Klein said.

The five-member Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, led by Klein, controls the Senate agenda in a power sharing arrangement with 29 Republicans. While there are 32 Democrats in the Senate, the IDC and the mainline Democrats can't seem to unite. As a result, critics say many progressive pieces of legislation have failed to pass the Senate including comprehensive campaign finance reform.

Many Democrats have urged the leaders of the two Democratic Senate factions to work out their differences. This week for example, elected officials called for a higher living wage in New York - something that is basically dead in the water because Senate Republicans, who have veto power over all legislation, would never allow it.

"You have a state Senate where issue after issue doesn't even get consideration, so I'm a long time supporter of a Democratic majority in the state senate along with the people of New york State who actually elected a Democratic majority to the state Senate," said state Sen. Dan Squadron, D-Brooklyn.

It's unclear if the rules would even allow an immediate reconciliation. It would maybe have to wait until the state Senate is reconstituted next year. The senators who make the rules could also probably find a way to change them.

No one expects something like this to happen immediately, but clearly the thinking on this is evolving among the players who could make it happen.

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