Cuomo’s calculated play to the progressive base with his speech seems to have worked, but what would really leave a lasting impression would be passing a slate of progressive laws, to go beyond the rhetoric and actually work to make the bill pass. Klein’s reputation has been staked on his ability to get the notoriously dysfunctional senate moving again, and Cuomo appears to want to burnish his progressive credentials, having spent much of his term so far as a stern fiscal conservative. Jay Jochnowitz, the Editorial page editor at the Albany Times Union, wrote of the Women’s Equality Act, “The Independent Democratic Conference, the Republicans’ coalition partner, should consider its credibility on the line if it can’t get such key legislation to the floor.”
Brooks was confident before the speech that this was the year the Reproductive Health Act would pass.
“The voters here in New York support this particular piece of legislation,” she said. “They did speak with their vote and want to see this work.”
The voters are solidly behind this bill; the governor claims it as central to his agenda. Now it’s time to see if the senate can get it done—and how much weight the governor actually will throw behind getting it passed. As Azi Paybarah wrote, “Cuomo does own this Senate coalition, politically. And he will continue to own it right up until the moment he decides not to.”