House Republican leadership passed on taking a vote Wednesday to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Republican state budget compromise.

The bipartisan Medicaid expansion legislation House Bill 655 was not heard as well.

The next opportunity will be at 9 a.m. today as the budget stalemate enters Day 42.

Cooper vetoed House Bill 966 on June 28, citing the lack of Medicaid expansion as a primary reason, along with not enough funds in the Republican budget compromise dedicated to public education spending, infrastructure and environment issues.

Republicans need at least seven Democratic House members and at least one Democratic senator to vote for a veto override. That means most House Democrats have to be present for any potential vote.

As the two sides remain entrenched, analysts say it could take weeks, if not months, for a compromise to be reached.

For example, House speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, was reported by The Daily Reflector of Greenville as saying on Aug. 1 that he is willing to wait until October to secure Democratic votes for the override.

Both sides have tried to put the onus on the other for the impasse that’s delaying, among several things, raises for state employees and public teachers, and $218 million in necessary start-up funding for the state Medicaid transformation initiative set to begin Nov. 1 in the Triad.

Moore told reporters after the July 8 session — the first session to skip a vote — that “we’re going to wait until the time is right.” He has said there will not be a vote on HB655 until the state budget veto override is approved.

GOP leaders, led by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, argue that Cooper has hijacked the budget with his insistence the legislation include some form of Medicaid expansion.

Meanwhile, Cooper and Democratic legislative leaders stress that if House GOP leadership had the votes to override the veto, they would have done so by now.

They say that by stalling on taking a veto-override vote and not beginning earnest budget negotiations with Medicaid expansion included, GOP House leaders are the ones responsible for the delay in pay raises.

On Wednesday, the N.C. Republican Party released a statement citing a memo from the nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division that the state budget surplus was at $896 million for 2018-2019 fiscal year that ended June 30.

Senate majority leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said personal income-tax payments ran $150 million above expectations, and sales tax collections were $74 million higher than anticipated.

“Last year, Cooper predicted a $600 million shortfall from this budget,” NCGOP spokesperson Jeff Hauser said.

“With a surplus of $896 million, Cooper was off by nearly $1.5 billion and is determined to hold North Carolina’s budget hostage with his Medicaid expansion ultimatum.”

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said in response to the NCGOP statement that “it has been 30 days since Gov. Cooper and Democratic leaders offered a reasonable, balanced compromise offer and Republican leaders have so far refused to respond with a counteroffer.”

“North Carolinians made it clear that they want more balance in state government, and Republicans should enter negotiations with Gov. Cooper.”

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

Load comments