ALBANY -– Love, or at least like, appears to be in the air at the Capitol.
After some back and forth public bashing the past few weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos spent their second Monday in a row chatting behind closed doors over coffee about how to resolve some of the big outstanding issues before session ends next month.
“I wouldn’t call it 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s,' " Skelos said of today's gathering -– without Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver -– in Cuomo’s second-floor office at the Capitol.
The Republican leader said the talks have been “very productive." But since they are held in secret, it is hard to verify the claim since Skelos did not say if any deals had been reached on any of the major bills that have been talked about for months.
Up in the air are a property tax cap, stronger government ethics codes and gay marriage -– which Skelos appeared to suggest is up to Cuomo whether or not a bill comes to the Senate floor. After the gay marriage rights defeat on the Senate floor in 2009, Cuomo has said he wants a bill considered on the floor only if it appears certain it will pass. Skelos appears willing to go along with that strategy.
For Skelos, the rhetoric has stopped, at least for now, of comparing Cuomo to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who once bragged of his “steamroller" powers over the Legislature.
“It’s the civil tone that we established during the budget negotiations," Skelos said of his private meeting with Cuomo.
Asked if he was having morning coffee sessions with Cuomo, Silver said, "No, I'm not.''
Silver said it has been "awhile'' since he and Cuomo have met face-to-face, but that he spoke to him over the phone just today.