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Raleigh, North Carolina – 11 September 2019
1. Various of Rep. Deb Butler angry and calling out the speaker
++SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASH++
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Deb Butler (D), North Carolina:
"How dare you Mr. Speaker? How dare you Mr. Speaker? How dare you Mr. Speaker? How dare you usurp this process? The unseemly lack of leadership is incredible. Absolutely, cowardice, childishness, cowardice. How dare you do this Mr. Speaker? Mr. Speaker, you are making a mockery of this process. You are deceiving all of North Carolina. Your leadership is an embarrassment to the history of this great state at this moment, in time, you are doing the unspeakable. Is this the legacy you want? Are you proud of this? Are you proud of yourself? Look at you. There's no one here because we have been deceived, the trustworthiness is gone. We will not yield. We will not…objection."
Republicans dominating a nearly half-empty North Carolina House chamber held an unexpected vote Wednesday and managed to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state's two-year budget.
Republican leaders had spent months trying to persuade enough Democrats to meet the threshold for an override, and finally seized a moment when Democrats opposed to the budget weren't at their seats.
The few Democrats who were on the House floor moments before the 55-9 vote erupted in protest, accusing Republican Speaker Tim Moore of tricking the chamber about the day's plans.
"This is a tragedy. This is a travesty of the process and you know it," Rep. Deb Butler, a New Hanover County Democrat, yelled at Moore just before the vote began. "Mr. Speaker, how dare you, Mr. Speaker."
Moore told her that he "did not advise that there would be no votes this morning." Moore's office provided audio from Tuesday's floor session from House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis saying recorded votes would occur Wednesday, specifically identifying two different spending measures.
The override isn't complete — the Senate still must hold a vote on the issue, but Republicans there need only one Democrat to join them to secure victory. Senate absences also could make that easier.
The House budget override vote has been on the daily floor calendar since early July, and from time to time the Republican leadership had announced that there would be no recorded votes on certain days.
There was nothing in the chamber rules to prevent such action Wednesday.
Wednesday's vote came as lawmakers have focused this week on redrawing legislative maps following a court ruling striking down dozens of districts due to extreme partisan bias.
It also marks the latest battle in a decade-long fight between Republicans who took over the General Assembly in 2011 and Democrats whose party had largely controlled state government for over a century.
Democrats have regained some power with Cooper's election in 2016 and 2018 legislative seat gains.
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