North Carolina's legislature reconvenes Tuesday amid the impasse over the stalled state budget.
Republicans in the Senate are currently one vote away from being able to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the 2020 budget, which has stalled over disagreements on teacher pay and expansion of Medicaid. Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. (D-Durham) resigned from his seat after he was appointed to the N.C. Utilities Commission by Gov. Cooper.
Democratic Party members in McKissick's Durham County district were due to vote Sunday on a replacement. Cooper is likely to sign off on the decision ahead of the General Assembly reconvening and a potential override vote.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) said the budget is being held up because of Medicaid, adding that he is willing to separate the issue from that of state employee pay.
"In my view the entire state budget should not be held up over a single policy disagreement, but that is where we are," Berger told WTVD Channel 11. "As far as teacher compensation is concerned, as far as funding for education is concerned, we are the third-highest state in the nation in terms of growth in teacher pay over the past five years."
"Gov. Cooper's teacher pay proposal would give teachers roughly $2,500 more on average than the Republican plan, but Republicans refuse to negotiate with him because they'd rather give corporations another tax break than properly fund public schools," Cooper spokesperson Dory MacMillan said.
Cooper vetoed the budget more than six months ago. The House overrode the veto Sept. 11 but many Democrats were absent. The Senate was due to hold an override vote in October but did not do so before the session was adjourned.
The governor said he vetoed the budget passed by the Republican-majority chambers because it was a “bad budget with the wrong priorities," according to the Raleigh News and Observer.