ALBANY, N.Y. — One day after the DREAM Act failed by just two votes in the state Senate, advocates are blaming Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein for bringing the bill to the floor before supporters had a chance to rally their troops.
"It was a setup. Yesterday we were set up," said state Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Queens.
On Monday morning, hours before the vote, advocates held a city hall press conference where they demanded a vote, but Klein says Democrats didn't have a united conference.
"I think the question that the advocates really have to ask is why two Democratic state senators voted no," said Klein, Senate IDC leader.
The two Democrats are Ted O'Brien of Rochester and Simcha Felder of Brooklyn.
Felder, despite being a Democrat, sits with the Republicans. He was not eager to discuss his vote.
"I have nothing to say. I thought you wanted to discuss the tax credit," said state Sen. Felder, D-Brooklyn.
We tried again.
"The tax credit is a wonderful way to educate children throughout the city," he replied.
"Regardless of what Senator Felder calls himself, he's as Republican as anyone else sitting in the Republican conference," said Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens.
Cardinal Dolan was in Albany Tuesday. He has been a vocal supporter of the Dream Act which provides state tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants.
"You bet we see it as a moral issue. We see it as a patriotic issue. We see it as an American issue. We see it as a civil rights issue," Dolan said.
Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino blamed the governor for the bill's failure.
"If Governor Cuomo really and truly wanted the Dream Act to go through, he would have found a way just like he did with other big bills that wee important to him. First, he could have called special elections for the vacancies," said County Executive Astorino, R-Westchester County.
Governor Cuomo has said he supports the Dream Act, and told reporters Monday that he has had multiple conversations about the bill.