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Foreign Policy Analysis
Sen. Berger responds to Gov. Cooper on North Carolina budget

Sen. Berger responds to Gov. Cooper on North Carolina budget

Before the governor’s press conference
yesterday, I reached out to him again to ask that he support these single
issues on which there’s already agreement. I told him that I think we can
actually build some trust and start reconciling through that approach. Y’all saw how he responded to that
in his press conference yesterday. He tells you and the public one
thing says, there’s no ultimatum. But as soon as he gets behind
closed doors the governor says, we need to settle Medicaid first. That’s an ultimatum,
he just will not support or negotiate any budget unless Medicaid
expansion comes first and is included. He refuses to do a debate,
a joint interview anything public with me. I don’t know that’s probably because
he would have some difficulty with some of the contradictions in his public and
private messages in such a format. In any event, we are moving forward with
what we think is the most responsible, approach passing into law those items
that already have brought agreement. The governor himself said that we’re
aligned on a vast majority of the budget. So let’s show the people we represent that we’re capable of moving
forward on things we agree about. Prisons should not remain
dangerously understaffed with correctional officers who
are dangerously overworked. Rape kits shouldn’t go untested. The governor said that passing
into law items on which we agree is Washington style incompetence. I would say it’s just
the opposite of that, staring each other down in a stalemate
is Washington style gridlock. Passing into law broadly popular and agreed upon budget items is progress,
it’s responsible governing. Now, regarding health care
access as a policy matter. The governor said that
a solution would be quote, a product of negotiation, that’d be great,
I agree with him on that. We should negotiate about
healthcare access solutions. We passed one such solution
earlier this month. The budget that the Governor vetoed
contained a provision calling for a special legislative session to
have that negotiation and debate. But he will not agree to that
because it’s Medicaid expansion and Medicaid expansion right now or nothing. I’d also like to mention one more thing,
the governor said that none, this is a quote as I understand it
from his press conference yesterday. None of the bills represent
movement to my position. None of them, he emphasized that point,
well, that’s just not true. The governor’s own budget proposal
includes the same pay raises as we passed this week. The governor’s own budget
proposal includes funding for Medicaid transformation. The governor’s own budget
proposal includes funding for prison safety, and rape kit testing. We’re being responsible
in passing these items, items that have broad up as
we said bipartisan agreement. I hope that will help build trust,
I just don’t just understand why the governor would oppose passing
things that he says he supports. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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