While Democrats were attending 9/11 commemoration events on Wednesday, Republican members of the state House called a surprise emergency session — during which they voted to override the Democratic governor’s veto of the state’s proposed budget, a move Democrats had long opposed.
North Carolina House Democrats were under the impression that there wouldn’t be any votes until 1 p.m., according to an email sent by the House minority leader and obtained by ABC11.
But Republicans snuck in a vote before then.
Many Democratic representatives told the outlet that they were lied to by the House Republicans, who voted to override the bill while just 64 of 120 House members present. The resulting vote was 55-9 in favor of overriding the bill.
“This is a tragedy. This is a travesty of the process and you know it,” Deb Butler, a Democratic state representative from New Hanover County, reportedly yelled before the vote began.
READ: Republicans avoided a complete disaster in North Carolinas special election
The few Democrats who managed to make it into the chamber in time for the vote were livid, ABC 11 reported, as was Gov. Roy Cooper, who blasted the Republicans in a press conference.
"For a decade, this Republican legislature elected by unconstitutional means has used tricks and bullying to starve our public schools and deny healthcare to half-a-million working North Carolinians," Cooper said. "They used lies, bribes and illegal districts because their policies damage our state and cant pass on their own merit. Today, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, while the state was honoring first responders, Republicans called a deceptive surprise override of my budget veto."
But House Republicans maintain they did nothing wrong.
“When we stop being a beacon of freedom, hope and democracy, then the terrorists win.”
"As a former firefighter and an American, I am appalled that anyone in our country would stop going about their normal business on this day,” Jason Saine, a Republican member of the state house who called the motion to vote, told ABC 11. “When we stop being a beacon of freedom, hope and democracy, then the terrorists win.”
The state senate still needs to vote on overriding the budget veto, but it’s likely that it will pass, since only one Democrat needs to vote in favor of it.
Cover: Woman pauses at the National September 11 Memorial during a morning commemoration ceremony for the victims of the terrorist attacks Eighteen years after the day on September 11, 2019 in New York City. Throughout the country services are being held to remember the 2,977 people who were killed in New York, the Pentagon and in a field in rural Pennsylvania. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)