News: Quick Takes

General Assembly approves Senate’s version of stopgap bill 

CJ file photo
CJ file photo

An appropriations bill approved by the General Assembly ensures federal money can flow into certain programs as the stalemate over the budget continues.   

N.C. House lawmakers on Wednesday, July 24, voted unanimously to concur with the Senate on House Bill 961, Ensuring Authorization of Federal Funds. The bill heads to Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature. 

North Carolina has gone nearly 30 days without a budget, after the governor vetoed the General Assembly’s $24 billion budget bill. Cooper and Republican leaders have since sparred over compromise legislation. Cooper has demanded Medicaid expansion be included in any compromise budget, and Republican lawmakers are reluctant to downright hostile to the proposition. 

“These are priorities that the General Assembly’s bipartisan state budget meets, along with billions of dollars for school construction, another round of pay raises, and public safety funds that were senselessly blocked by the Governor’s veto,” Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said in a news release. 

H.B. 961 draws down federal dollars in block grants for various entities, as well as the suicide prevention hotline. The bill is Senate Republicans’ version of a stop-gap funding measure in reaction to the budget veto. 

House Republicans introduced House Bill 111 earlier, which included funding for the Average Daily Membership for public schools, Raise the Age implementation, N.C. FAST, N.C. Promise, Medicaid transformation, among other provisions. The bill passed the House unanimously and now sits in the Senate Appropriation Committee. 

“The Governor already blocked pay raises and capital projects that our communities need today,” Senior House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, said in a news release. “The state must meet its obligations for federal grants or risk more consequences of the Governor’s single-issue ultimatum to expand Medicaid like he demands, or else face the consequences.”

The governor’s office has sent multiple news releases criticizing the Republican leadership of not negotiating in good faith. 

“Instead of responding or making a counteroffer of any sort, legislative leaders have pointed fingers, made allegations and tried to bribe legislators to override the Governor’s veto so they could avoid negotiating,” Cooper’s team wrote in a news release.