RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that he will veto a budget agreement sent to his desk by the General Assembly the day before.
Gov. Cooper was joined by teachers and healthcare advocates, as well as fellow Democratic leaders, as he made the announcement at a press conference in Raleigh. He said the proposed budget was an “astonishing failure” that doesn’t go far enough to address teacher pay or expand Medicaid.
“By the measures that matter to me, as well as most North Carolinians, this budget fails,” Cooper said. “That’s why I must veto it.”
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) sent out a statement about Gov. Cooper’s veto moments after the announcement was made.
“This is and has always been about Medicaid expansion. The Governor is blocking funds for teacher and state employee raises, the rape kit backlog, the Human Trafficking Commission, and other crucial investments so he can can brag to his far-left base that he vetoed the budget over Medicaid expansion,” wrote Berger. “I continue to await any counter-offer whatsoever from this Governor.”
On Thursday, the House and Senate gave their final approval to a 2-year spending plan in separate votes. It received preliminary approval Wednesday following debate in each chamber.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly then sent the budget agreement to the Democratic governor.
The measure was mostly hammered out by GOP leaders, according to the Associated Press. Cooper and Democratic allies are unhappy that it doesn’t expand Medicaid and it reduces corporate taxes further. Instead of bonds for school construction, the budget uses existing funds.
Republican lawmakers pleaded with Democratic colleagues not to let politics over Medicaid expansion get in the way of enacting a budget.
A compromise proposal is expected to be drafted and submitted in two weeks.