The Latest: NC House Republicans defend veto override action

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina House Republicans’ surprise vote in a half-empty chamber to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

North Carolina House Republican leaders say they never made any announcement or decision that would have prevented the chamber from voting to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper veto of the state budget bill.

Speaker Tim Moore and one of his top lieutenants held a news conference hours after their chamber held an unexpected and successful override vote Wednesday. Very few Democrats appeared when the morning floor session began. That’s because they say they were told there would be no recorded votes during that session.

Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis says he never told any legislator that no recorded votes would occur. But House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson said he remembers hearing differently from Lewis.

Moore says there was no scheming Wednesday to create the opportunity for an override. But he’s said repeatedly that he would act if circumstances presented themselves.


12:55 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says Republican House members “waged an assault on our democracy” with their surprise vote to override his budget veto.

The Democratic governor held a news conference on Wednesday, hours after the unexpected call for a vote by House Speaker Tim Moore. The override still must be successful in the Senate, but the House was always the greater obstacle for GOP leaders in a 2½-month budget stalemate.

Barely one-third of the House Democrats were on the chamber floor. Democrats said they had been told that no recorded votes would be taken Wednesday morning. Cooper said “this was a lie.” Several House Democrats screamed at Moore on the floor as he pushed through the override vote.

Cooper urged Senate Democrats to stay united and uphold his veto. He said Wednesday’s “fiasco” has destroyed the trust he could have with House Republican leaders.


12:30 p.m.

Democrats in North Carolina are slamming statehouse Republicans as undemocratic cheaters after the GOP speaker held a surprise vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto at a time when many Democratic state representatives were elsewhere.

House Speaker Tim Moore no longer has supermajority in the chamber, and Republicans failed to persuade Democrats to join them in an override vote. So Moore seized a moment when many Democrats weren’t there to object.

Moore threatened to eject Rep. Deb Butler from the chamber when she refused to yield for the vote. Video of the scene on the House floor shows Republican efforts to end debate by shutting off microphones. Uniformed police are seen entering the chamber and observing as Democrats surround Butler in a show of support.


9:42 a.m.

Republicans dominating a half-empty North Carolina House chamber have voted to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state’s two-year budget.

The unexpected vote Wednesday morning came without dozens of Democrats on the House floor. Republican leaders tried for months to locate enough votes to meet the threshold for an override, largely through winning over enough Democrats. They finally got what they wanted because Democrats opposed to the budget weren’t at their seats.

The override isn’t complete — the Senate still must hold a vote on the issue, but Republicans would only need one Democrat there to secure victory.

Wednesday’s vote came as lawmakers have focused this week on redrawing legislative maps following a court ruling striking down dozens of districts due to extreme partisan bias.

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