by Sam Hieb
As you can probably imagine, McClatchy–owners of both the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer–was not happy with the “surprise” state House of Representatives vote overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget. The editorial that appears in both the Observer and the N&O Strongly criticizes House Speaker Tim Moore’s “stunning display of contempt for democracy.”
But here’s the key point (emphasis mine):
But this isn’t a case simply of hardball politics and sly legislative maneuvering. This is a case of breaking faith with the people of North Carolina and with all who strove and sacrificed over generations to protect and advance North Carolina’s political system as one based on a true representation of the people’s will, a true democracy.
And the legislation at issue isn’t a bill of limited scope. It is the state budget. It is how North Carolina defines itself by the priorities it sets in spending. And it’s being held up by a dispute over a major issue that involves billions of federal dollars and ultimately affects everyone in the state, Medicaid expansion.
The governor wants North Carolina — like 37 other states (including Washington, D.C.) — to expand the federal health insurance program to include more of the working poor. Republicans do not. The dispute — plus the governor’s call for bigger raises for teachers — led to the budget veto that the Republican majority — in any honest fashion — lacks the votes to override. The impasse should bring negotiations, concessions, alternatives and compromise, also known as the democratic process. Instead it brought forth a Republican shortcut — legislative deceit.
McClatchy’s right–the impasse “should bring negotiations, concessions, alternatives and compromise.” But I have to ask–where have the Democrats–including Gov. Cooper– been in this democratic process? They’ve made it clear that they want nothing short of full Medicaid expansion— which JLF has repeatedly pointed out— would have extreme consequences not only for the state budget but–most importantly–would also jeopardize the healthcare of existing Medicaid enrollees, including low-income parents, children, pregnant women, the elderly, the blind, and the disabled.
In the meantime Democrats have rejected reasonable Republican compromises, thus holding the entire state budget hostage. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with Speaker Moore opportunistic tactic to override the governor’s veto. But there’s plenty of blame to go around here, and it seems like Republicans are getting their disproportionate share. Then again–what’s new?