Last week, 51 of the 55 Democratic North Carolina House members signed a letter pledging their commitment to sustain Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget bill, more than enough to squash Republican leaders’ attempts to override the veto.
In a letter delivered to legislative leaders Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, the Democratic legislators said, “We are committed to sustaining Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the State Budget. The votes are not there to override and staying in session for weeks waiting for Democrats to miss votes because of illness or family and work obligations is a waste of taxpayer dollars and disrespectful to the voters who elected Governor Cooper and this more balanced General Assembly.” They called for Berger and Moore to begin “good faith negotiations” and said, “The only way to resolve the State Budget impasse is to negotiate a compromise.”
By releasing the unequivocal commitment listing signatories’ names, Democratic leadership is seeking to pressure their Republican counterparts to come to the bargaining table. It also confronts their few dissenting colleagues with the likelihood that defection will not produce the returns for their constituents that could shield them from the anger of their own supporters.
House Minority Leader Darren Jackson tweeted a copy of the letter, with these comments: “The votes are not there for an override. Not in July. Not in August. They won’t be there in October. Time to negotiate.”
In vetoing the budget bill more than 40 days ago, Cooper noted fatal flaws, including its failure to adequately fund efforts to protect the public from toxic pollution threats to drinking water.
Instead of negotiating on this and other differences, the opposing legislative leadership has scheduled a House veto override vote day after day of the session, only to pull the bill from the calendar and reschedule it again. This is a strategy of arrogance which assumes a party-line veto override power which those leaders no longer have.
It is indeed time for them to negotiate.
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