RALEIGH – The budget standoff between the Republican legislative majority and Democrat Governor Roy Cooper continues. As Republicans presumably wrangle behind the scenes in the hopes of whipping enough Democrats to override Cooper’s veto of their budget, Cooper continues a publicity tour of whining that they won’t swallow his Medicaid-Expansion-Or-Nothing approach.
Cooper most recently offered to spin the narrative in his favor on Charlotte’s NPR affiliate. The entire exchange is worth reading if you want to practice rolling your eyes, but suffice it to say that the governor seems a little petulant that Republicans haven’t met his demands in order to release the hostage that is the biennial budget.
“I think the Republican leadership has been entrenched for so many years that they’re not used to anybody challenging their budget, which usually is very heavy on continuing to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us and corporate taxes, and not enough investment in education and health care. We’ve challenged that. I vetoed this budget because it is a bad budget for our state. They have not been able to override it. Sixteen days ago we made a very reasonable compromise — a detailed compromise proposal — to the Republican leadership, but we’ve heard nothing because they’re spending their time trying to bribe Democratic legislators to override my veto.”
His talking points have not changed at all, still hammering ‘tax cuts for the wealthy’ and not enough spending, while pretending that he’s being the reasonable one because he offered a compromise. But that “detailed compromise proposal” actually spent more money than Cooper’s first budget recommendation! It also still included what he and everyone in his office knows is a poison pill of Medicaid expansion.
There maybe some lost and confused Republicans in the House willing to pass an expansion, but luckily there is a core in the Senate that rightly wants nothing to do with an irresponsible contravention of principles.
Cooper continues whining that those mean Republicans won’t negotiate with him unless expansion is taken off the table, seemingly unaware that he is guilty of the exact same thing in the other direction.
“Republican leaderships, before they will negotiate with me, want me to take Medicaid expansion off the table. […] Well, I’ve continued to insist that it must be part of our discussions. We have a solid Democratic Senate and House. Every one of them wants to expand Medicaid. There are many Republican legislators over in the General Assembly who want to expand Medicaid. Most of it is coming from the leadership in the Senate. And I think there are clearly the votes in the House to expand Medicaid. So now it’s time for them to start negotiating this instead of trying to get Medicaid off the table and trying to override the veto.”
The governor also continues to sprinkle on additional demands as well, like some sort of algorithm for a Democrat wish list. If Republicans were to fold and make Medicaid expansion ‘part of the negotiations,’ then he also wants to hold out for more money on education. If he gets more money for education, he wants to eliminate those business tax cuts in the budget too.
Gee, it’s so surprising why the Republicans haven’t just come to the negotiating table. Might as well just let the governor displace the entire legislative branch while you’re at it.
Read the whole transcript for the whole interview here, and ask yourself if this governor is really in a position of strength.