Senate Democrats Choose Political Loyalty to Gov. Cooper Over Their Constituents

Budget that passed with bipartisan supermajority will not become law, as Dems flip-flop to kowtow to man in the mansion

Raleigh, N.C. — Senate Democrats have chosen to kill the budget that passed with a bipartisan supermajority. In doing so, Senate Democrats are preventing billions of dollars from going to public school teachers, school capital needs, and priority local projects like a new medical school at East Carolina University.

One Democrat was refreshingly honest in explaining how political interests have influenced his decision to block the budget. Senator Ben Clark (D-Hoke) told The Insider, “Until we sit down and negotiate that [Medicaid expansion], I see no reason to vote to override the veto.”

The following items will not be funded because of Governor Cooper’s and Senate Democrats’ Medicaid-or-nothing ultimatum:

  • $215 million for a brand new Brody School of Medicine at ECU;
  • $20 million to provide in-home care for 1,000 people in the intellectually and developmentally disabled population;
  • $212 million to support Historically Black and Minority Serving Colleges and Universities;
  • $750,000 for a health care pilot program in Cumberland County that would provide job training and health services to veterans;
  • $3 million for a pilot program for students in Guilford County to establish career and technical education academies;
  • $250,000 for the City of Wilmington to continue operating a quick-response team to address the needs of opiate and heroin overdose victims;
  • Funds to address drug and alcohol addiction in jails in Forsyth, Moore, New Hanover, and Onslow counties;
  • $7.7 million to build a new mental health crisis center in Guilford County.

Senate Democrats and Governor Cooper have ended hopes of a budget because of one policy disagreement. They sold their districts out to kowtow to one man. Governor Cooper likely promised Senate Democrats that they would get what they wanted in the budget plus Medicaid expansion.

Instead, they got neither.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “Democrats will have to face their constituents in the coming months and explain their choices. We tried for months to negotiate a workable budget, but the Governor wouldn’t agree to any budget without Medicaid expansion. Senate Democrats chose loyalty to the Governor over teacher raises, new schools, healthcare for people with developmental disabilities, and a new Brody School of Medicine. That does not sound like supporting sound policy to me.”

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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