GOP in North Carolina House Takes Advantage of 9/11 Observance to Override Budget Veto

September 11, 2019 by Dan McCue

North Carolina’s Republican-controlled House voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget in a surprise vote held while scores of the chamber’s members were attending a ceremony honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Democrats who happened to be in the chamber objected to the bill being brought up, saying they’d been told no votes would be taken during the House’s 8:30 a.m. session.

But House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, said such an announcement had never been made. With that, State Rep. Jason Saine, also a Republican, made the motion to reconsider the state budget.

According to numerous accounts, chaos then ensued with one Democrat, State Rep. Deb Butler yelling above the hue and crying, “this is a travesty of the process and you know it.”

Moore pressed on, ignoring the Democrats objections, and held the vote to overturn the governor’s veto with only 64 of the chamber’s 120 members participating. It passed, 55-9.

Cooper responded by condemning the Republicans for what he described as “an assault on our Democracy.”

 “Today, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, while the state was honoring first responders, Republicans called a deceptive, surprise override of my budget veto,” the governor said during a hastily-called press conference.

“On a day when tragedy united our country, we should be standing together despite party, the Republican caucus was laying in wait, ready for this,” he said adding, “I have never seen anything like this in my 30-plus years in state government.”

Moore responded with his own press briefing at which he denied that any promises were made about a “no vote” session.

The budget was on Wednesday’s calendar and included no disclaimer that there wouldn’t be a vote, he said.

Cooper and the Democrats responded to that assertion by noting the budget has been on the daily calendar all summer as negotiations between the two sides proceeded.

Moore was unrepentant.

“I made it clear. I’ve said it repeatedly. If I saw an opportunity to override this budget veto, I was going to take that vote,” Moore said. “If they didn’t want it to pass, all they had to do is show up for work.”

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