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Give ‘em Hell Chuck

May 11, 2010

We’re casting about for ideas on how to get the lawmakers back to the negotiating table. The state budget is six weeks late and there’s no movement toward resolution. In fact, they’re not even talking to each other. 

We reported last week that Andrew Cuomo recently made an urgent appeal to the leaders to consider the political ramifications of continued impasse. We applauded Cuomo for doing so.   

Now we’re looking for others who can play a constructive role. Who, in addition to Cuomo, do all the players respect? Well, it’s not a long list. It’s not the dean of the congressional delegation – Charlie Rangel, who is diminished as a result of ethical issues. It’s not Kirstin Gillibrand, who is plucky, but still growing into the job. It’s not Tom Dinapoli, who, while well-liked, is fighting for his political life. 

The only other person is Sen. Charles Schumer, who — no exaggeration — is the hardest-working person in public service. 

Schumer, never one to take anything for granted, is in full campaign mode right now, traveling across the state attending to all manner of local concerns. 

Would it be a stretch for him to weigh in on state budget negotiations?  We don’t think so.

If fact, we wish Schumer, a former Assembly member who knows state government as well as anyone, would give the lawmakers and the governor a kick in the pants. 

He could do this by saying in no uncertain terms that unless the lawmakers and the governor get their act together, he’ll go around the state and provide the federal aid he controls directly to localities.

Would anyone outside of Albany blame Schumer for taking this approach? Of course not. It would help drive home the absurdity of the current situation. It could help force the lawmakers into action. And by doing that, Schumer would be a hero.

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