As reported by nj.com, two days after a tirade by Senate President Stephen Sweeney against Governor Chris Christie was published on the front page of The Star-Ledger, Sweeney refused to walk back his comments. “Could I have gone over the top with my language? Probably, I did,” said Sweeney. “But I don’t apologize for it. The governor was wrong to hurt people.”
Sweeney was responding to Christie’s line-item veto of the Democrats’ $30.6 billion budget that slashed programs for the poor, disabled, abused children, student financial assistance, and aid for struggling cities-cuts that went beyond the original budget Christie proposed in February. It also decreased funding for legislative staffing. In The Sunday Star-Ledger, Sweeney called Christie, among other things, a “rotten bastard,” “a punk,” and “Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ “
Sweeney said the vetoes were personal for him because one of the programs cut was the Early Intervention System, which provides therapy for developmentally disabled and delayed babies and toddlers. Sweeney’s daughter, Lauren, was born with Down Syndrome.
Sweeney said Christie called him Sunday after his comments appeared in the paper, but he would not take the call because he felt neither of them were in a state to talk calmly. “The Governor believes the language used was inappropriate and disrespectful to the office, but he continues to stand ready to work with Senator Sweeney and the Legislature in a bipartisan manner to get things done for the people of New Jersey,” Christie spokeswoman Maria Comella said Tuesday.
Sweeney plans to schedule a Senate vote to override Christie’s vetoes, but cannot until the governor’s office files the vetoes with the Legislature. After that, they have to wait three days before they can vote. “This is about taking money from poor people and putting it back in your own pocket,” said Sweeney, who said Republican lawmakers need to buck the governor and vote to override the vetoes. “My colleagues will have the opportunity to do the right thing,” he said.