Queens Democratic State Senator Jose Peralta announced that he will officially be joining the breakaway group of Democrats in the State Senate known as the Senate Independent Democratic Conference. This brings the IDC’s membership to 8 Democrats. The IDC caucuses with the Senate’s majority Republican conference. The State Senate is closely divided among party lines, and although tallying Democrats v. Republicans shows Democrats in the majority, it is the IDC’s alignment with Republicans that give the Republicans the majority. The State Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic, and Governor Cuomo is a Democrat as well.
The IDC votes largely with Republicans on legislation, compromising on issues of importance to the Republicans, which allows the IDC to pursue a progressive agenda including minimum wage raises, paid family leave, affordable housing, higher education, and affordable healthcare among others. Independence from mainline Democrats has also allowed IDC Leader Jeff Klein a seat in closed door budget negotiations and other high profile issues of compromise with Assembly Speaker Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, and Governor Cuomo.