Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Last Call For Bringing Rubber Bands To An Artillery Duel

North Carolina Republicans remain the worst people in America, as the GOP-controlled state House overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto while most House Democrats were at the state's 9/11 memorial ceremony this morning.

In a stunning display of contempt for democracy, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, called a surprise vote to overturn Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget just after a session opened at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Democratic lawmakers and the media had been told by Republican leaders that there would be no vote in the morning.

Most Democrats were absent. Enough Republicans, aware of the secret plan, were there. When Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, made the motion to reconsider the state budget, the handful of Democrats on hand objected strenuously.

"This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” said Rep. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover.

That it was, but with these Republicans a travesty of the process is just business as usual. With only 64 of the House’s 120 members present, the vote to override passed 55-9.

Now it’s up to Democrats in the Senate to follow their conscience — and perhaps for a few Senate Republicans to find theirs — and refuse to follow the theft in the House with the necessary three-fifths vote in the Senate.

The decision will be up to individual members. Senate leader Phil Berger was no doubt aware of Moore’s plan to end run Democratic opposition. It’s a grim reality that there are likely no Senate Republicans who — however they may feel about the budget — would turn away from participating in this act of subterfuge. In a sense, the budget that comes before them to be made into law is the legislative equivalent of stolen goods. So what, they’ll figure, our side stole it; Democrats shouldn’t have been so trusting. Tough.

But this isn’t a case simply of hardball politics and sly legislative maneuvering. This is a case of breaking faith with the people of North Carolina and with all who strove and sacrificed over generations to protect and advance North Carolina’s political system as one based on a true representation of the people’s will, a true democracy.

And the legislation at issue isn’t a bill of limited scope. It is the state budget. It is how North Carolina defines itself by the priorities it sets in spending. And it’s being held up by a dispute over a major issue that involves billions of federal dollars and ultimately affects everyone in the state, Medicaid expansion.

North Carolina's Medicaid expansion is on the line, plus billions in other cuts that the NC GOP wants to make to the budget that Cooper vetoed.  They would need a three-fifths vote in the state Senate to complete the override, but Republicans only have a 29-21 majority and would need 30 votes.  Unfortunately, odds are pretty good they can get that single vote, because North Carolina. And if they can't, Senate President Phil Berger pulls the same move that the House GOP did.

This is horrific, but the NC GOP won't pay a price at all for this.

Rep. Saine's excuse for going ahead with the vote?  If we stop the business of America for memorials, the terrorists win.

You thought 9/11 was a somber day of reflection?  Screw you, hippie.  We've got people to kick off Medicaid.

Democrats are still bringing rubber bands to artillery duels and they will keep losing to Republicans who don't give a damn every time.

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