January 15, 2020/Press

ICYMI – “Make no mistake. The budget failed because Republicans failed to compromise”

During the (very short) continuation of the legislative session yesterday, Republicans once again refused to work with Governor Cooper and other Democrats. Make no mistake: “The budget failed because Republicans failed to compromise.” Democrats are “demanding better” because “folks who teach our kids math know when our schools are being short-changed.” By refusing to compromise, Republicans are forcing North Carolina’s teachers to go at least another four months without a pay raise and the approximately 600,000 people who would benefit from Medicaid expansion to go uninsured.

“Democrats returned to Raleigh to get work done,” said North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Meredith Cuomo. “Unfortunately, Republicans returned to play partisan games and continue to put maintaining their desperate grip on power above the needs of North Carolianians. This November, voters will remember and make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

When the legislature returns for the short session in April, Democrats will be committed to the pocketbook issues that matter to North Carolinians: expanding access to health care, giving public educators the resources they deserve, and strengthening North Carolina’s economy. We hope our Republican counterparts will be willing to compromise then, but we aren’t holding our breath. 

CBC: Editorial: Time’s now for Berger to deliver on Medicaid special session
January 15, 2020

  • We found the performance of Berger particularly noteworthy – more for what he didn’t say than what he did. Berger heaped praise on his legislation for teacher pay and derisions on Democrats who opposed it. Berger’s incomplete portrayal of the issue sought, falsely, to portray his opponents as against increasing teacher pay. “Senate Democrats have rejected every teacher pay offer we’ve proposed, and Governor Cooper has vetoed every teacher pay raise we’ve passed,” he said.
  • The reality, as he well knows, is that the governor vetoed the legislation is because he wants teachers to get a LARGER pay raise and local school systems to get MORE money for school construction. As the recent state court’s Leandro report points out, the legislature’s budgets haven’t come close to meeting the investment needed for our public schools to meet our State Constitution’s mandate.  Cooper and the Democrats refuse to settle for the “scraps” that Berger tosses. They are demanding better.
  • Teachers know it and that is why tens of thousands of classroom leaders have been marching on the Legislative Building in Raleigh. The folks who teach our kids math know when our schools are being short-changed.
  • When it comes to Medicaid expansion, the governor wants it in the budget and is willing to talk about different ways to do it. Berger has refused to negotiate with the governor on the issue or even have it brought up in the Senate for discussion or debate. He did offer, after a Medicaid-free budget was in place, to hold a special session on Medicaid expansion.

NC Policy Watch: Make no mistake. The budget failed because Republicans failed to compromise.
By Billy Ball
January 15, 2020 

  • But this week’s inevitable failure—you could hear this train steamrolling down the tracks, sounding its mournful sound a long time ago—is another sign of the Republican failure to compromise. It is as if they spent most of a decade in the supermajority, heedless of compromise. And when compromise was necessary, they found it not at all like riding a bike.
  • Legislators convened and adjourned, presumably until April, because they could not find accord on education spending and healthcare, just to name a few of the most obvious disagreements. They convened and adjourned because Republicans could not convince one additional Democrat to flip sides in the state Senate and vote for an override of Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto. So, rather than face the prospect of horse-trading, they threw all of the horses off a bridge and went home.
  • Democrats left Raleigh without a deal because they wanted significant, not miserly, investments in education and teacher pay. Republicans left Raleigh because they wanted another round of top-down tax cuts. One is a public need; the other—following billions of dollars in cuts since 2013—is a public want, and it can hardly be justified in light of our schools’ failure to keep pace with other states on K-12 funding and educator pay.
  • Expansion of Medicaid—a mostly federally-funded extension of services that would have benefited rural hospitals and the poor—is an unqualified no-brainer, but regardless of what Republicans say, they could have struck a budget deal with Democrats and Cooper that did not require expansion. They knew as much months ago, when they began their backdoor efforts to buy off Democrats with local pork spending. They knew as much this week too, rendering Tuesday’s special session mostly ceremonial. The next few months will be spent selling the public on who is to blame for our budget-bereft year, which in all likelihood will spin into the next budget cycle as well.
  • “No one’s livelihood should be used for political leverage,” Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue said Tuesday, flanked by several top Democrats and red-clad educators from the N.C. Association of Educators, a K-12 lobbying organization that has been relentlessly critical of the Republican leadership in recent years.