GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - The House voted 55-9 to override Governor Roy Cooper's budget veto on the morning of Wednesday, September 11th.
In June, Governor Cooper vetoed the $24 billion budget after saying it lacked Medicaid expansion and pay raises for teachers.
The House has 120 members, however, many democratic representatives were reportedly absent at the time of the vote. Cooper held a press conference afterward stating that, “They used lies, bribes, and illegal districts because their policies damage our state and can’t pass on their merit" and "On a day when tragedy united our country, we should be standing together despite party. But instead, republicans pulled their most deceptive stunt yet.”
Former senator Bill Cook, who represented several Eastern North Carolina counties, including Beaufort and Hyde, says this vote shouldn't come as a surprise.
Cook said, "Every time they go on the floor, they could have voted on that. So, this has been going on for about two and a half months. And every Democrat either didn't know or should've known that this could be voted on any time. [They] should've known that. If they didn't know that, they're brain dead."
When asked if this will cause distrust between the House and the governor, Cook said there was never any trust in the first place. He believes the Senate should also override the veto.
Representative Kandie Smith, who was present at the time of the vote, was shocked when the vote came up.
"When I came in this morning, we had the prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and then, all of a sudden, it was House Bill 966. And I was in complete shock. Because I said, 'They're calling a vote?' And I looked around the room. As a matter of fact, I picked my iPad up and I recorded. And you could see that we only had several of us in the room on the Democratic side," Smith said.
Smith says that there was some miscommunication on the purpose of the meeting. She said the representatives have not known the time that they're coming into session until the day before. She assures that she will continue to fight for Medicaid expansion and teacher pay raises.
The budget will now go on to the senate. The Senate would also need to override the veto for the budget to go into effect.