GOP Senate Leader: Democrats “Have a Herd Mentality”

Republican leaders Sen. Len Fasano, Rep. Themis Klarides.

The Republican leader of the Connecticut state Senate issued a challenge to his Democratic counterparts Tuesday, in another effort to have a special session of the General Assembly to deal with the bleak budget situation. But just as he called for Democrats to get on board the idea, he acknowledged it won’t happen.

Sen. Len Fasano tells The Hanging Shad, “[Democrats] never break ranks. They have a herd mentality. But it’s our obligation to say to ask them, ‘Are you voting with leadership or are you representing your constituents?’”

As for why the majority party rejects all calls for a special session, Fasano speculates, “Maybe it’s because we’re in a blue state. They feel protected.”

Senate President Marty Looney sees it differently.

Fasano, the entire Republican caucuses in the House and Senate, hospital officials, social service advocates and even the Democrats have said the cuts made by Gov. Dannel Malloy are devastating to hospitals and social service programs. Words like “crippling,” “stunning,” “shocking” and “destructive” have been tossed around to describe Malloy’s $103 million in cuts he made last month. The governor has the authority to make the cuts—called “rescissions”—and they can be made without legislative approval.

(Malloy is sinking like a stone in the latest Quinnipiac Poll )

One of the reasons there has been an outcry over the cuts is that they were made just three months into the fiscal year. Republicans accuse the governor of budgeting month-to-month, without a specific plan for the future. Fasano says it’s become routine. “The governor turns away every idea away, even those from Democrats, without even seeing the whole picture,” he said.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides floated the idea of pulling back on new local aid and transportation initiatives. Fasano is not onboard, “We are on the same page for the most part. There are a number of things that need to be talked about. I just think [Klarides’ idea] is premature.”

In their news conference, Republican leaders tried yet another route to get a special session. The session can be called by the governor (not happening), by the majority Democrat leaders (as of now, also not happening), or if majorities in both chambers want to call one. Of course that means some Democrats would have to break ranks (very unlikely).