Last week, Governor Cooper and Democratic legislators put forward a detailed, responsible compromise budget proposal and invited Republican legislative leaders to meet and negotiate.
On July 9, Republican leaders declined that invitation and Senator Berger subsequently left the country for the remainder of the week. Among other areas of compromise, the Governor's proposal would:
- Expand Medicaid
- Increase teacher pay by an average of 8.5%, down from the Governor's initial budget proposal of 9.1%
- Combine scaled back versions of both the Governor's bond initiative and Republican SCIF to fund school construction and other capital needs
- Cut taxes for people while stopping additional corporate tax cuts
- Add $700 million to the state's Rainy Day Fund
- Fund all of the local projects included in the Republican legislative budget
Read about the Governor's compromise proposal HERE
Republicans Have Refused to Negotiate
Instead of negotiating, Republicans continue trying to override the Governor's veto, even resorting to auctioning the DHHS headquarters and its 2,000 state employees to legislators in five different counties in exchange for their votes. These brazen bribes do not represent serious governing or negotiating and have unsurprisingly failed to convince legislative Democrats to abandon their priorities.
By the end of the week, it was clear that the Republican budget lacks the support necessary to become law. In a call with legislative leaders from each chamber on Friday morning (July 12), Governor Cooper urged Senator Berger and Speaker Moore to work with legislative Democrats and join him at the negotiating table instead of wasting more time on efforts to override his veto. Thus far, the Republican leaders have not offered a comprehensive response to the Governor's compromise proposal.
Governor Cooper and Democratic legislators have been clear that Medicaid expansion must be on the table for discussion as part of the budget process. While the Governor prefers clean expansion, he is willing to discuss concerns of leaders in both chambers to ensure that more North Carolinians can get access to affordable health care.
In the House, Speaker Moore has endorsed a Republican-sponsored plan to expand healthcare coverage. This legislation received broad bipartisan support in committee, however, the Speaker has conditioned floor consideration of the bill on a successful override of the budget veto. The Governor believes leaders in both
chambers must be willing to commit to a serious negotiation and path forward for Medicaid expansion as part of the budget process.
The Path Ahead
The Governor remains willing to meet with legislative leaders in person or by phone to discuss a compromise budget whenever they are ready to do so.
North Carolinians deserve a budget and want their leaders to work together. At every turn, Governor Cooper has worked to meet with legislative leaders and negotiate a compromise in good faith. Thus far, Republicans have preferred gamesmanship, silly accusations and power games. While they make for good clickbait and soundbites, it's time for the stunts to end and for legislators to meet the Governor at the negotiating table.
- Contact: Ford Porter