The state budget stalemate on Day 54 was overshadowed Tuesday by another potential veto target for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
For the 25th consecutive House session, House Republican leadership declined to take a vote on Cooper’s veto of the state budget, as well as bipartisan Medicaid expansion legislation House Bill 655.
Instead, Tuesday’s session was dominated by House Bill 370, which had been returned after being approved by the Senate.
HB370 would force the state’s 100 sheriffs to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement on detainers to hold jail inmates who may be in the country illegally.
The next opportunity for a vote on the veto override and HB655 would be 8:30 a.m. today, although it is likely the session could be put into recess for an afternoon start.
The House passed its version of HB370 by a 63-51 vote on April 3. The Senate, after making changes to the House version, passed the bill by a 25-18 vote June 24.
On Tuesday, HB370 was passed 62-53 on concurrence — within the range of sustaining a Cooper veto.
Republicans need at least seven Democratic House members and at least one Democratic senator to vote for a veto override for it to pass on a three-fifths majority.
For the state budget override, the House voted in favor 64-49, while the Senate voted 33-15.
As the two sides remain entrenched, analysts say it could take weeks, if not months, for a compromise to be reached.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has cited the lack of Medicaid expansion as a primary reason for his June 28 veto. He also said there’s not enough money in the Republican state budget dedicated to public education spending, infrastructure and environmental issues.
Cooper’s compromise proposal, sent to the legislature July 9, included an average 8.5% raise for public-school teachers. The Republican budget offers a 3.8% raise.
Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for House speaker Tim Moore, said Aug. 12 that “the speaker will hold the veto override when the votes are secured, and we are steadfastly committed to passing the $24 billion state budget separately from any consideration of Medicaid expansion.”
It’s estimated that it costs $42,000 a day for the General Assembly to operate.
It has cost $1,092,000 in taxpayer money, as of Tuesday. The clock on the additional expenses began when Republican House leadership first put a veto-override vote on the calendar for the July 8 session without taking a vote.
Since then there have been 25 House sessions held, the vast majority without the veto override being heard.
HB655 was put on the agenda for the first time July 10. It has not been addressed for 23 consecutive sessions.