Republicans in North Carolina’s state House of Representative are under fire from their Democratic colleagues after the GOP lawmakers moved Wednesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on a proposed state budget while the Democratic chief executive was attending a 9/11 memorial event.
Nearly half of the House was absent when Republicans pushed the vote to override the veto resulting in a final tally of 55-9.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson said Republicans told Democrats they would not hold any votes during the morning session.
“Veto still stands in the Senate. Plainly unethical behavior by Republicans today,” Mr. Jackson, a Democrat who represents the state’s 37th state Senate District tweeted. “There have to be consequences for this kind of behavior. Just another lesson in why they must lose their majority.”
Mr. Cooper, who had been away at an event recognizing the Sept. 11th, 2001 attacks, held a press conference at noon about the vote.
“For two months, Republicans refused to offer a compromise or sit down at a true negotiating table with me,” he said. “Democrats were told there would be no votes this morning. That was a bald-faced lie.”
“Today, Republicans waged an assault on our democracy. They cheated the people of North Carolina,” he said, adding, “I have never seen anything like this in my 30-plus years in state government. This is a true assault on our democracy. There is no question about it.”
Republican House Speaker Tim Moore followed with a press conference claiming it’s his responsibility to ensure a budget is passed, including seizing an opportunity to override a veto.
“It was properly noticed. It’s a great day for North Carolina,” he said, according to CBS17, adding that all Democrats “had to do was show up to work.”
The fallout of the vote led to chaos on the House floor, with Democratic Rep. Deb Butler calling Mr. Moore a “coward” for the move.
“You are making a mockery of this process. You are deceiving the people of North Carolina. Your leadership is an embarrassment to the history of this great state,” she said, in a video posted by a fellow lawmaker.
Her Democratic colleagues would later surround her to prevent her arrest.The move comes Republican Dan Bishop eked out a win in a special election Tuesday in a longtime GOP House district, narrowly defeating his opponent by about 4,000 votes.
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