Democrats including Gov. Roy Cooper expressed extreme frustration, Wednesday, Sept. 11 after the NC House of Representatives voted to override Cooper’s veto and approve the 2019-2021 state budget while many Democratic representatives were absent.

After the vote, state legislators on both sides had plenty to say about the matter and, on Thursday, Sept. 12, Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), appointed by Cooper in 2017, also decided to publicly put her two cents in.

On Thursday, Cohen issued a statement on the budget passed by the House.  She claimed it was detrimental to her department and that it would hurt the department’s ability to oversee health and human service efforts across the state.

“The budget and the House vote process are profoundly disappointing,” Cohen wrote.

The state Senate will also have to vote to override Cooper’s veto before the budget becomes law, so opponents of the budget are still fighting hard against it.

“In a time of a surplus,” Cohen stated, “this budget makes massive cuts to DHHS that will potentially impact everything from health inspections of restaurants to the safety of drinking water to child protective services.  This budget harms the people of North Carolina and fails to protect basic health and safety services that millions of people take for granted.”

After the override vote by the House on Wednesday, some Democratic representatives claimed they had been told that no vote would be taken that morning and thus they were absent.  However, the facts are that it was announced that votes would be taken and the budget override vote was the first item on the House calendar for Sept. 11.  But, Cohen also railed against the process.

While Cohen stated that the budget is a threat to citizens, others argue that nothing could be further from the truth.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, State Rep. Hardister defended the budget approved by the House.  He wrote, “This is a great budget that enhances education funding; increases pay for state employees; increases pay for teachers; and provides for important items such as public safety, school construction, foster care, UNC campus projects and substance abuse treatment.”