Hey North Carolina — Here’s Why There’s No Budget

It’s actually pretty straight-forward.

The Governor vetoed the budget in late June. He put forward a compromise in early July. It primarily included differences with respect to teacher pay (more), corporate tax cuts (less), and Medicaid expansion.

Republican leadership then made a strategic decision: Rather than negotiate with the Governor, they would fully commit to a veto override strategy.

They used two tools to try and override the veto. The first was promises of pork barrel money to select Democrats who they thought they could flip. This was largely ineffective.

The second was turning the veto override process into a longterm siege of legislative Democrats in an attempt to call a vote when there weren’t enough of them present to sustain the veto.

The siege began on the House side. Republican leadership scheduled the veto override for a vote every day for two months. And every day, all of the House Democrats showed up (even if they were receiving treatment for cancer, as one member was), so every day they canceled the vote.

After two months, it was clear to House Republican leadership that the siege had failed and they weren’t going to break the Democrats. So they faced another choice: Call off the siege and enter negotiations, or engage in deception. They chose deception.

As is well-known, on September 11th they broke their commitment to not call a vote at the morning session (during which there typically are no votes— voting sessions are almost always in the afternoon so committees can meet in the morning) and overrode the Governor’s veto.

So the siege passed to the Senate. Senate Republican leadership proceeded in the same fashion. They repeatedly scheduled the vote and as soon as they saw all the Democrats were present, they canceled it.

But they made a mistake. When they got called out on the Senate floor for their siege tactics, one of them decided to grab his microphone and basically confess, saying, “We’ll call [a vote] at the right time. I hope you’ll miss it.”

Which was caught on camera and promptly received widespread, national condemnation.

The next day, Senate Republican leadership tried one more time. They scheduled the vote for early that morning. All the Democrats showed up. So they called for a recess,

then another,

then another,

then another,

then another,

then another

— but every time we were called back from recess, all the Democrats showed up. So they canceled the vote. Then they gave up and adjourned, saying they would try again in January.

To be clear: We are ready *right now.*

That’s why we don’t have a budget. Republicans went all-in on an override strategy, were nationally exposed — twice — for conducting it in an overtly corrupt manner, failed, then went home.

Or, in even simpler terms:

North Carolina State Senator

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