For Immediate release Contact: Capri Catanzaro
Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is drawing a lot of attention to himself, and he is not handling it well. Instead of taking responsibility for shutting down the House before a budget was passed, he is responding to criticism by finger pointing, complaining, and trying to shift the spotlight and the blame onto anyone but himself.
Speaker Mattiello's decision to close the House is solely his, yet he argues that Senate President Dominick Ruggerio’s budget amendment breached a contract between the two—a handshake which is still unconfirmed. Perhaps, Mattiello should review the Rhode Island Constitution, the Rhode Island General Laws, and the rules by which the legislature functions, and show us where handshakes are discussed. Our reading of the law suggests that the Senate has a right and a duty to review and amend the budget where it deems necessary or appropriate for the public interest. Is Mattiello suggesting that only the President and Senate Finance committee have the right to amend the budget, rather than individual senators?
Mattiello repeatedly insists that it is accepted practice for Rhode Island legislators to make deals behind closed doors rather than in full public view, but it will not get him off the hook. People with integrity do not make excuses, and our Speaker must recognize that the broken assurances of one or two state senators do not relieve him of the duties of his office and his responsibilities to the state. But as his recent actions clearly demonstrate, Mattiello is not an honorable man. Rather than doing his job, he ordered everyone home so he could avoid negotiations with the Senate, and the possibility of losing them. Now, instead of putting aside his personal qualms and working toward a solution, he rejects any and all attempts at compromise and insists that the issue is closed.