Democratic division: Assembly to weigh budget with higher education overhaul, despite group’s protests
By Jarrett Renshaw/Statehouse Bureau.
TRENTON — The Assembly Budget Committee will consider the sweeping and controversial overhaul of the state’s colleges and medical schools on Monday, setting the state for a potential showdown between leadership and a gang of nine Democrats who are seeking to put the breaks on the measure.
Star-Ledger file Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) is leading a dissident group of Democrats who will only support the party's budget plan if the decision on the higher education merger is delayed.
Dubbed the “Cryan Nine,” the bloc of Assembly Democrats wrote a letter to Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) Thursday advising her that they will withhold their support of the party’s budget proposal unless the reorganization plan is shelved until later in the year.
“We write in opposition to the higher education reorganization plan that is being rushed through the Senate,” the letter states. “The debate on the proposal has been limited, held mostly behind closed doors, and without serious independent review.”
Oliver and Assembly Democratic leaders responded to the demand today by placing the reorganization bill on Monday’s agenda of the budget committee in the lower house, inching the plan closer to a full vote that could come Thursday.