Cooper eager to work with ‘balanced’ legislature
Republicans have held so many seats in the General Assembly in recent years that they could make spending and policy decisions without input from their Democratic colleagues – or the governor.
Tuesday’s midterm elections reset that equation, with Democrats winning enough races to break the GOP’s veto-proof majority in the House and possibly in the Senate as well.
With the threat of a veto that can be upheld, Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative Democrats now have more leverage to negotiate on the state budget and other bills.
“People sent the signal that they want more balance in the General Assembly and they want [lawmakers] to work with the governor,” Cooper said Thursday. “Now, we have the kind of balance where consensus can be forced and people have to sit down at the table and talk about how we approach these things.”
The governor said he’s looking forward to speaking with legislative leaders as they put together priorities for the 2019 legislative session, which starts in January, noting that his priorities haven’t changed since he was elected two years ago.
“We have been urging better teacher salaries and investment in education, along with broader access to health care,” he said. “Those are two issues that many Republicans, in fact, campaigned on, so I’ll take them at their word.”
Some Republican lawmakers have said they would support at least a limited expansion of Medicaid. But House and Senate leaders have opposed the idea for years, and there’s no sign at this point that they’re changing their minds.