Legislators comment on House’s override of budget
Political fireworks erupted Wednesday morning in the General Assembly when a vote was cast to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on the budget, much to the surprise of the House Democrats present.
The vote ended up being a landslide for the Republicans as 55 members voted for the override, compared to the nine Democrats who were present to vote against it. The bill has now gone to the Senate.
While many Democrats were left angry, operating under the assumption that the session would include no votes, Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly) said lawmakers were informed Tuesday that there would be votes the next day.
“There was no conspiracy,” he said. “We were not told, ‘be here, we’re going to do this.’ ”
Sasser voted to override the veto.
Sasser rebuffed the assertion that many of the Democrats missed the session due to 9/11 remembrances, saying Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) said that only one House Democrat was absent due to a memorial.
Sasser also said Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover/Brunswick), as she was shouting at House Speaker Tim Moore about the surprise vote, mentioned many of the Democrats were away redrawing district maps when the vote was taken.
All the nine Democrats had to do was leave the session and there would not have been enough lawmakers to vote on the override, Sasser said.
“The Democrats made a very bad mistake and got focused on redistricting and forgot about what was at hand and weren’t on the floor when they were supposed to be,” Sasser said.
He added that instead of being angry with Republicans, Democrats “should be mad at themselves because they messed up.”
Rep. Scott Brewer (D-Stanly), who was one of the Democrats that voted against the override, said he was shocked there were votes Wednesday morning.
“We had gotten an email on Tuesday night that said there would be no votes in the morning,” he said.
Brewer said if there was somehow a miscommunication about voting taking place, the bill should not have advanced to the Senate and should have been brought back to the House.
“If there was a foul up, there should have been enough integrity to say ‘we just need to do the vote over,’ ” he said.
He said he was disappointed with the Republicans’ “win-at-all-costs philosophy.”
Cooper was also not happy with the tactics Republicans used to override his veto.
“Legislative Republicans used a corrupt process to push a budget that pays teachers less than state employees and gives corporations yet another whopping tax break,” Cooper wrote in a tweet Thursday.
Cooper vetoed the budget passed by the General Assembly in June, citing its lack of Medicaid expansion.
The Senate Republicans need either one Democrat to join their ranks or for two to be absent when voting to officially override the budget, Sen. Carl Ford (R-Stanly) said.
He said there will be no votes in the Senate Friday.