Politics was the talk of the state Wednesday after Republicans surprisingly passed an override of Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto. Republicans had kept the override vote on the docket but untouched for months.
On Twitter, Rep. Deb Butler (D-Wilmington) said protesters were gathering outside the General Assembly since early Thursday morning.
I am informed that a rally has grown organically overnight for this morning outside the General Assembly. If you are near Raleigh, NC, join us. #WeWillNotYield— Deb Butler (@DebButlerHD18) September 12, 2019
A vote on the override had not been called because Republicans did not have the required number of votes to pass it. However, on the morning of September 11 as the country reflected on the thousands of Americans killed in a terror attack 18 years ago, only 53 percent of representatives were present.
Democrats said they were specifically lied to. They said Republican leaders told them no votes would take place until at least 1 p.m.
NEW: @ABC11_WTVD obtains this email sent from minority leader @JacksonforNC to @nchousedems caucus with Tuesday schedule, which thus far corroborates notion @NCHouseGOP had signaled no recorded votes until afternoon @NCLeg session. @ABC11_WTVD @ABCPolitics @JTHVerhovek #ncpol pic.twitter.com/77T5eEnx4G— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) September 11, 2019
However, minutes after the House session began--after only a pledge of allegiance and prayer for 9/11--Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincolnton) was recognized. He immediately called for a vote on the budget override.
Republicans pushed back against accusations that they lied about intentions of a vote taking place. In fact, they said they'd made it clear that they wanted to override the vote and would do so if and when they thought they had the votes.
Fifty-five Republicans were in attendance for the morning session--85 percent of Republicans elected to the House. Nine Democrats were in attendance--16 percent of Democrats elected to the House.
"If this is the way you believe democracy works shame on you," Rep. Butler said. "This is not appropriate and you know it."
The Republican move was undoubtedly legal, but when asked it if was ethical, House Speaker Tim Moore avoided the question.
"What I'll say is this: When we have a calendar, we have business before the body, we're going to vote unless we tell otherwise, and there was no announcement made that we weren't going to vote. You had members who didn't go to things, because they were here to do their job. They came here to do their job, to vote--which is what our job as a House member is--is to be on that floor to be in that seat near that green or that red button when we take up matters."
Hear Moore's complete answer below:
The budget veto override must still make it through the Senate, but there it faces a smaller hurdle than it did in the House. That's because Republicans only need one Democrat to switch sides to have the required number of votes to pass the override.