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The Senate Republican versus Governor Cuomo

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Albany/HV: The Senate Republican versus Governor Cuomo
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Facing backlash from their conservative base over the past few weeks, Republicans are calling out Governor Andrew Cuomo on some of his agenda. So far, their efforts have produced mixed results. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- State lawmakers have worked well with Governor Andrew Cuomo over the last two years. But after the passage of his sweeping gun control law, Republicans in Albany are flexing their muscles over judicial appointments, a proposed abortion law and the extension of a utility assessment surcharge. But Cuomo on Wednesday said that's just part of the public debate over issues.

“I would reject the premise. There is a back and forth, as there should be, on proposals that are debated between the Senate and the Assembly. That's the premise of the system and that's a good thing,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo has tackled a range of controversial issues: Budget cuts, the legalization of same-sex marriage and a new, cheaper pension tier. This year's agenda hasn't produced the same reaction as those issues did.

“This year probably has been remarkable for the lack of differentiation and the lack of argumentation, so I see it the exact opposite way,” Cuomo said.

But Senate Republicans, now in a governing coalition with five independent Democrats, are facing heat from their conservative base following the passage of Cuomo's gun control law. And they are pushing back on some of Cuomo's agenda.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said this week that Cuomo's push to extend an expiring tax is a tax increase, despite the governor's claim to the contrary.

Cuomo said, “It's an extension beyond the expiration date. I know where you are going, but I think it is not a new tax.”

Cuomo also faced push back on his nomination to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals when some Senate Republicans expressed concern over her resume, but also a desire to be included in the nominating process.

“In the future, before you put candidates forward, like other governors have, you consult with the legislature, as to the amount of nominees that are out there and the one that you want to pick,” said State Senator John Bonacic.

And weeks after its passage, gun control remains a heated topic. Republicans bashed Cuomo's push for the gun control law, but in widely criticized comments that he later apologized for, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin compared Cuomo's efforts to get the measure passed to Hitler and Mussolini.

McLaughlin said, “Hitler would be proud, Mussolini would be proud. Moscow would be proud. But that's no democracy.”

Reacting to those comments for the first time publicly on Wednesday, Cuomo didn't want to discuss them.

“I don't think it deserves a response, frankly,” Cuomo said.

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