Berger promises at least 24 hours’ notice on override -- for whatever that’s worth

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Sen. Phil Berger has promised that Senate Republicans will not repeat the budget ambush vote orchestrated by Speaker Tim Moore in the House last month -- though Berger has a track record of dishonesty that should give pause to anyone who does not believe the word “gullible” is written on the ceiling.

Republican leaders claim they merely took dishonest advantage of a miscommunication to House Democrats -- as if that wouldn’t be bad enough. But House Minority Leader Darren Jackson says GOP leaders flat-out lied to him about taking no votes during the skeleton session in question and challenged Republican leaders including Moore, House Rules Chairman David Lewis, and Reps. Jason Saine and Jon Hardister to put their contradictory claims on the line by taking their own lie detector test.

  • Sen. Berger claims the Senate will give 24 hours’ notice on any veto override vote. Of course, the Senate’s rules require as much -- so Berger doesn’t exactly deserve a pat on the back for his statement.
  • No one should trust the rules of the North Carolina state Senate. Senators can and do suspend their rules frequently. So this should be taken with an even bigger grain of salt.
  • After all, Phil Berger doesn’t exactly have a strong track record when it comes to telling the truth. In 2015, Republican leaders claimed the Senate budget contained no substantial cuts. But because the budget announcement only included favorable highlights, reporters didn’t learn until later that the Senate budget would have fired 8,500 teacher assistants across the state. That would have added up to the largest layoff in state history.
  • It’s a sad state of affairs when politicians are forced to challenge each other to lie detector tests, but it shows how legislative Republicans have utterly demolished any lingering trust that may have remained in the General Assembly.
  • It’s now been 90 days since Gov. Cooper offered a compromise budget. Republicans in the legislature have never sketched out their own compromise budget. Instead, they have let North Carolina teachers go another week without a pay raise.

Sen. Phil Berger’s dubious and unremarkable promise notwithstanding, our only chance to support public schools and health care access by sustaining Gov. Cooper’s budget veto is if Senate Democrats remain united and hold the line.

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