The North Carolina state budget has been one vote away from passing since the House voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto in September, and the state Senate may vote on the budget override on Monday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. according to President Pro Tem of the state Senate Phil Berger.
The Republicans in the Senate, who all support the budget, lack one vote to be able to override Cooper’s veto, and up until Friday, Oct. 25, it didn’t appear they had that vote.
But Friday it was announced that the Senate calendar for Monday, Oct. 28 includes the budget override vote. That doesn’t mean the Senate will vote on the budget. The budget override vote was on the House calendar every day it was in session from the time Cooper vetoed the budget on June 28 until the Republicans passed it with most of the Democrats out of the room on Sept. 11.
But it does mean that Berger and the Senate leadership believe there is a reason to have the option of voting on the budget override.
Other media have reported that the Republicans can only pass the override, which requires a 60 percent majority, with one Democratic senator voting in favor. But that is not accurate. The North Carolina Constitution states “three-fifths of the members of that house present and voting” must vote in favor to override the veto.
So the Republicans could get to that three-fifths (60 percent) without a Democratic vote, if all the Republicans were present and two Democrats were absent or didn’t vote. If one Democrat were absent it would still leave the Republicans about half a vote short.
It could be that Berger learned that two Democratic senators were not going to be able to attend the session on Monday. Berger promised he would give the Senate 24 hours notice before holding a vote on the override.
If the entire Senate is present and no Democrats have decided to vote for the budget, then most likely nothing will happen, but then you have to wonder why Berger placed the vote on the calendar.
Regardless of what happens Monday, Berger has said the Senate will adjourn on Thursday, Oct. 31.