How Will Perdue Vetoes Play Out?
Plenty of political risk exists whenever Gov. Beverly Perdue pulls out her veto stamp and plunks it down on a piece of legislation.
So perhaps legislative Republicans wanted to put the public spotlight on Perdue when they recently held votes to override the two vetoes she has made this legislative session.
One of the vetoes came on a budget-related bill designed to help save several hundred million dollars this year so that it could be applied to next year. The Democratic governor didn’t like the bill because it took money from business incentive funds that she says is critical for job creation.
The other veto came on a Republican-led effort to join the court challenge by other states of the federal health care reform law.
Legislative Republicans, of course, believe they are on the right side of both issues.
They have good arguments on the budget-related bill, as their savings proposal should have left the business recruiting funds with enough money to come up with any state-supplied incentives needed to land new businesses. If that wasn’t the case, Perdue could have always asked for immediate help from the legislature, as she and other governors have done in the past.
Even so, the issues aren’t likely to play much in Peoria, or Pikeville, or Pleasant Garden. If significant savings are generated from the current budget, most voters aren’t really going to care much about the source.
Although the state has some cash flow problems right now, those same folks aren’t going to care much as long as they get their tax refunds and the state’s bills get paid.
National health care reform has captured the public’s attention. Perdue’s veto of legislation that attempts to block portions of the law in North Carolina may lose her political support in some corners.
Still, opposition to the federal law is hardly the slam dunk that Republicans would like to believe. A good chunk of the population isn’t happy with the current health care system.
Some people have dealt with insurance companies that fight over the payment of benefits, or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Some have faced the prospect of illness wiping out their retirement savings.
Regardless of the political outcome for Perdue, the politics of veto aren’t exactly the same as those of trying to override a veto.
By scheduling votes that they knew would never succeed, Republican legislative leaders may have hoped to draw more attention to Perdue’s veto. They may have wanted to placate core constituents. Instead, they may have proven that a Democratic legislative minority and a Democratic governor wield more power than a Republican legislative majority.
One of the more significant developments of the override vote in the House was that Republicans lost the two Democrats — Reps. Jim Crawford and Bill Brisson — who initially voted with them to block the health care reform law.
The result may have both emboldened and unified legislative Democrats.
Scott Mooneyham writes for Capitol Press Association in Raleigh. Contact him at email@example.com.
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