New Jersey’s top Democrat determined to override Christie veto of Port Authority overhaul

 Traffic moves across the George Washington Bridge before a news conference where New Jersey and national Democratic Party leaders in September marked the anniversary of lane closures near the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. (AP file photo)

Traffic moves across the George Washington Bridge before a news conference where New Jersey and national Democratic Party leaders in September marked the anniversary of lane closures near the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. (AP file photo)

Democrats in the New Jersey legislature have never been able to get support from Republican lawmakers to override any of Gov. Chris Christie’s vetoes.

 

As the latest attempt looms, however, Senate President Steve Sweeney has no intention of backing down.

A vote to override Christie’s veto of a bill to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is planned for next month, Sweeney said.

“If we’re not successful, we will come back with another bill — and again and again and again,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle reverse themselves as frequently as they do. They’d be better off voting against the bills in the beginning.”

The legislation calls for an overhaul of rules governing the Port Authority, the agency that, in part, oversees operation of the George Washington Bridge that was the scene of the politically motivated lane closures.

Republican lawmakers in New Jersey and New York joined with Democrats in both legislatures to unanimously pass the bills. Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed the legislation.

Sweeney warned his Republican colleagues that rejecting reforms they previously voted for could make the public question their decision and hurt their political future.

Republican legislators are likely to stick by Governor Christie because he’s the most powerful person in New Jersey politics, said Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin.

“So when the governor really wants you to stick by him, when the governor is from your party, it’s really hard to say no to that person,” he said.And Christie’s potential run for president might also put pressure on Republican legislators not to embarrass him by voting in favor of an override, Dworkin said.

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