Independent Democratic Caucus Expands
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Sen. Jose Peralta, (D-13), announced that he would be leaving the mainline Senate Democratic Conference in order to join the IDC. Peralta stated that his decision was based on his desire to be a progressive voice that obtains the best results for his constituents.
“Today’s political climate demands that progressive legislators take bold action to deliver for their constituents,” he said.
Peralta is the third Senate Democrat in 2017 to make the move to the IDC, which works in a power-sharing coalition to provide Senate Republicans with majority control of that Chamber. While Senate Democrats were quick to vocally criticize Peralta’s move, several constituents also publicly confronted him at a town hall in Queens last week. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been derided for not using his considerable influence to unify the Conference.
The current balance of power in the Senate is comprised of 31 Republicans, 8 IDC members and Simcha Felder, who is a registered Democrat but caucuses with the Republicans. This gives the Republicans a functional majority of 40 members as opposed to 23 mainline Democrats.