Gov. Chris Christie (R) went on offense after Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) did not post his Atlantic City rescue bill today, calling the whole situation a “vanity exercise,” though Prieto says not one member of the Assembly was comfortable voting on state Senate President Steve Sweeney’s AC takeover today.
“But now we don’t have time to dawdle here. It’s ten days so either they are going to do it or Atlantic City is going to be bankrupt. Now I know there are many in the Republican Caucus who believe that might be the best alternative,” Christie said in a Trenton press conference this afternoon.
“They may not be wrong. But we are not going to have much time to wait now any longer on this. So I am disappointed that we had to go down this road, this vanity exercise.”
Christie also dismissed the notion that Atlantic City’s financial crisis is a North vs. South issue among Democrats, further stating that anyone who thinks a committee that determines benchmarks to held save Atlantic City is part of the answer “does not really understand how government works.”
Prieto, who has opposed Christie and Sweeney on this issue from day 1, said in his own Trenton press conference that he is still open to compromise, but one has never been offered and no one in the Assembly wanted to approve Sweeney’s takeover bill today.
“I said at the committee, when I created this bill, that this was not a perfect bill, this was a bill to try to work upon from that as a blueprint of getting something accomplished,” he explained.
Saying that, I actually then went back to the caucus, knowing that this was something that needs to be taken care of, and I looked into the caucus and asked each and every member ‘can any of you vote for the Senate bill today?’ Not one hand went up. Not one.”
Prieto also confirmed that Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6) suggested the Assembly meets with the Senate tomorrow, which he is open to, though he was put off by Sweeney publicly stating he never told him about any such meeting – since Greenwald was the one who had come up with the idea.
He added that regardless if Sweeney wants to be involved or not, the Assembly will be holding caucuses on Friday, Monday and Tuesday to try and come up with a bill to introduce on this ongoing issue on Wednesday.
The Secaucus native went on to say that “I have had zero, zero input on any takeover bill,” as well as that he didn’t consider the fact that the Assembly wouldn’t vote on the takeover bill a victory, stressing his goal is “to pass a bill that gets to the governor’s desk.”