Chuck Schumer Calls On New York’s Breakaway Democrats To Rejoin The Mainstream Party Caucus

Activists had asked the U.S. Senate minority leader to speak up.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on a group of breakaway Democrats in the New York Senate to caucus with the Democratic Party, enabling the party to control the legislative chamber.

Currently, Democrats enjoy a 32–31 numerical majority in the state Senate, but a group of 9 Democrats have chosen to form a majority coalition with the Republicans. Eight Democrats are members of the Independent Democratic Conference, a caucus that has a power-sharing arrangement with the GOP, and a ninth lawmaker, Simcha Felder, caucuses with the GOP.

Schumer was asked about the matter on Monday during an event in Brewster, New York, where the senator hoped to pressure New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to adopt positive train control.

“The IDC, they’re elected as Democrats and they should caucus with the Democrats and create a Democratic majority,” Schumer said. “That’s the right thing to do. I have worked very hard through the years to help elect Democrats and create a Democratic majority in the Senate.”

“The IDC, they don’t run as Republicans, they just caucus with the Republicans. That’s wrong,” he added. “They ought to caucus and work with the Democrats.”

Schumer joins a chorus of top Democrats who have urged the breakaway Democrats to return to the fold. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has been outspoken about the need for the IDC to form a majority with Democrats, as have all 18 Democrats representing New York in the U.S. House.

Last Thursday, two activists affiliated with the Brooklyn chapter of Indivisible, a network of progressive grassroots groups, penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News admonishing Schumer for his “intolerable silence” on the matter.

“Even though he is one of the nation’s two most powerful Democrats, representing a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Schumer inexcusably tolerates illegitimate Republican control of one house of New York’s Legislature, the state Senate, with the help of a group of breakaway Democrats,” Liat Olenick and Christopher Denicola wrote.

This story is developing.