The following is a press release from the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.
Earlier this week, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Governor Roy Cooper spoke on the phone. Governor Cooper asked Senator Berger to negotiate teacher pay, which is a $5 billion dollar part of the budget, separate from the rest of the budget.
Any conclusion on such a large part of the budget will have impacts on budget availability for other programs. Senator Berger therefore told Governor Cooper that he would negotiate all of the remaining budget items together, but it would not make sense to negotiate on just one of them. Senator Berger then asked Governor Cooper to drop his Medicaid expansion ultimatum so they could negotiate a final budget.
Governor Cooper again refused.
Governor Cooper also sent Senator Berger a letter last week. Governor Cooper’s office informed Senate leadership, in writing, that the letter was a good-faith gesture and they would not release the letter to the press. Today, Governor Cooper issued a press release about the letter.
This behavior is consistent with the Governor’s negotiating tactics. His administration reached agreement with the legislature on Medicaid transformation funding and on an issue as non-controversial as teaching kids to read. The legislature passed those bills based on the agreement with Governor Cooper. He then vetoed both of the bills.
Senator Berger said, “Governor Cooper’s behavior is not helpful. He should at least be truthful with the public and tell them that I offered yet again to negotiate the entire budget, and he yet again refused, citing his Medicaid expansion ultimatum. If he would drop his ridiculous ultimatum, we could have a budget deal tomorrow.”