Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Long Island Thursday that he spoke with four New York Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Katko, who voted for the House tax bill.
Katko, R-Camillus, and two of his colleagues, U.S. Reps. Chris Collins and Claudia Tenney, said they never had conversations with Cuomo about the tax plan.
Cuomo has been critical of the Republican tax plan. He shared his feelings about the proposal again Thursday, calling it "very bad for New York."
"I am most appalled that you would have Republican congresspeople who voted for it," he said. "And I talked to all of them and they all had the same line which was, 'Well you know my political leaders are forcing me to vote for it.'"
But Collins, R-Clarence, Katko and Tenney, R-New Hartford said they didn't speak with the governor. A fourth member, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, had a conversation with Cuomo about the tax proposal, according to The Buffalo News. However, Reed never mentioned that he was being pressured by leaders to support the bill.
A spokesperson for Katko said the governor's claim of a conversation is "absolutely not true" and added that "no call was received from the governor."
Collins tweeted his response to Cuomo. He said the governor was lying and they never had a conversation.
The Governor is lying, he never called or spoke to me. If he is lying about something as small as this, you can be assured he is lying about the tax reform legislation passed today. https://t.co/KtoFYlk0xD— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) November 16, 2017
Like Collins, Tenney took to Twitter to deny that she had a discussion with Cuomo.
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This is false. @NYGovCuomo did not call. But if he did, I️ would have told him to stop wasting taxpayer’s money on phony self-promotional schemes that only benefit his friends and donors. (Start-Up NY, Subsidies to Hollywood Filmmakers) He has ZERO respect for the taxpayers. https://t.co/iB6TZ73J7z— Claudia Tenney (@claudiatenney) November 16, 2017
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for the governor, sought to clarify his remarks early Friday.
"The Governor's point was the Republican congress members he spoke to said they were under pressure from their political leadership to vote yes," he said. "Reed, Collins and the rest of the New York congress members who voted against their own constituents can try to deflect from this irresponsible vote, but it's the governor who stood up for New York taxpayers and always will."
The House passed its tax reform proposal by a 227-205 vote Thursday. Collins and Reed were early supporters of the bill. Katko and Tenney backed the measure in the days leading up to the vote.
In an interview with The Citizen Wednesday, Katko explained why he would support the bill. He said most of his constituents would receive a tax cut and believes it would benefit businesses in his district.
After the vote Thursday, Katko reiterated his support for the plan.
"I've carefully reviewed this bill and consulted with local families, small business owners and individuals throughout our community," he said. "Their message was clear: our tax code is too complex and it places an unfair burden on working families. Congress must act to change the status quo."