Gov. Roy Cooper is wrong, absolutely wrong.
He has told the General Assembly that he’ll veto the state budget, holding it hostage, unless legislators agree to expand Medicaid.
Pointing out that in early May the Charlotte Observer editors discussed this possibility if Medicaid wasn’t expanded, N.C. Sen. Harry Brown of Onslow County said yesterday they wrote:
“… Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson of Wake County, said this week that Cooper will veto any budget that arrives at his desk without Medicaid expansion. The governor’s office is a bit more reticent — spokesman Ford Porter told the News & Observer that it’s too early for Cooper to commit to a veto, but that the governor ‘hopes to see those issues addressed’ before the House and Senate send a final budget his way.
“As for a Cooper ultimatum: We’re wary of officials holding one legislative item hostage for the sake of an unrelated item. Tempting as it might be for the governor to threaten a budget veto if Republicans don’t move toward Medicaid expansion, he should resist.”
This past week, said Mr. Brown, the Observer editors urged Mr. Cooper to be an outspoken advocate for Medicaid, but they opposed using the state budget as a club to stop progress.
“Frustrated progressives would like Cooper to veto any budget that arrives at his desk without Medicaid expansion,” said the editors, “but to this point the governor has been reluctant to take that stand. We agree with Cooper. We’re not fans of political ultimatums, nor holding legislative items hostage for the sake of another.”
So the Observer editors are saying move on.
To refuse to collaborate on the state’s $24 billion budget simply because the General Assembly hasn’t expanded Medicaid, an “unrelated item,” stymies priorities and hurts all North Carolinians. It’s a wrong-headed political stalemate going nowhere. For the good of the state, Mr. Cooper must negotiate and get a budget passed.