North Carolina Republicans Voted To Override Governor’s Budget Veto While Democrats Were Away At 9/11 Ceremony

A picture of an empty legislative chamber.
BISHNU SARANGI / Pixabay

Republicans in North Carolina are coming under fire for holding a surprise vote to override Governor Roy Cooper’s budget veto — one that took place while the governor and House Democrats were attending a 9/11 memorial ceremony.

As The News & Observer reported, Republicans leading the North Carolina House of Representatives held the vote on Wednesday morning with just more than half of the 120 members present to vote. Democrats said they had been told that there would be no voting at the 8:30 a.m. session — and that it would just be a formality to begin legislative work — but a Republican representative introduced a motion to override Cooper’s veto of the budget.

Most of the Democrats were gone at the time, attending a ceremony to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, Republicans moved on, over the objections of the few Democratic members in attendance. The House can vote on items as long as at least 61 lawmakers are present, and three-fifths of those in attendance must vote in order to override a veto from the governor. The measure passed by a vote of 55-9, the report noted.

Afterward, Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference to slam Republicans for the move, saying it was an “assault on our democracy.”

Cooper added that he had never seen anything like the move in his more than 30 years in state government. He later took to social media to express his anger, sharing an Instagram post in which he said that the vote had cheated the people of North Carolina.

There could now be consequences for the Republicans who overrode the veto in the surprise vote. Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, tweeted that the measure will likely hurt Republican efforts to lead a plan to draw new districts after old ones were struck down as unconstitutional, as The Inquisitr had reported.

“This is not going to go over well with the three judge court which was giving the North Carolina General Assembly a chance to draft a bipartisan redistricting plan (or else court will appoint special master to do it),” Hasen wrote.

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But the protests from Roy Cooper and other North Carolina Democrats did not earn much sympathy from their counterparts on the other side of the aisle. North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Kings Mountain, said afterward that it was their opponents’ fault for choosing to attend the 9/11 ceremony rather than coming to the legislative chambers.

“If they didn’t want it to pass, all you have to do is show up for work,” Moore said.