Gov, GOP in Round 2 of benefits fight

Posted May 26, 2011

The House is expected to vote this afternoon on a second attempt to change a formula that would allow some 45,000 jobless North Carolinians to start receiving federal benefit checks again.

In their first attempt at a fix, GOP leaders linked the benefits to a measure that would have forced the governor to either accept whatever budget the Republicans sent her, or manage the state for a year on 13 percent less money than her budget proposed.

The new measure, H439, is more moderate: Instead of a year-long continuing resolution, it’s 90 days. And instead of a 13 percent cut, it’s closer to 4 percent: the measure would authorize spending at House budget levels if lawmakers and the governor haven’t reached agreement on a plan by July 1st.  Sponsor Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, says it would keep the state running if budget talks stall. 

House Speaker Thom Tillis said Wednesday the new proposal represents “middle ground.” He said Perdue has “failed to lead” by refusing to suggest a compromise.

“She’s been incommunicado on this subject. I’m coming back with another alternative. The governor hasn’t. All she’s done is said 'no.' That’s not good leadership,” Tillis said.

The governor has not actually been incommunicado on the topic. But what she has said, repeatedly, is that she wants lawmakers to send her a bill that makes the needed fix to the benefits formula without tying it to any other issue.

Perdue and Democrats say there’s no connection between federal unemployment benefits and state budget negotiations. Republicans insist there is a link, though how they explain the connection varies from person to person and day to day.

The GOP majorities in the House and Senate are likely to approve H439 and send it to Perdue by next week. If the statement from Perdue’s office Wednesday night is any indication, it won’t get a warm welcome, at least in its current form:

"For weeks, 42,000 unemployed North Carolinians have waited for the legislature to show leadership by passing legislation that will restore their federal unemployment benefits. Instead the legislature has refused to do the right thing and played politics by passing a bill that ties unemployment benefits to the legislature’s budget games.

"And here they go again by introducing HB 439 that would tie unemployment benefits to a budget bill that would cut public education by more than $1 billion. If this bill were to become law in its current form, thousands of teachers, teaching assistants and students would be held hostage by the legislature’s political games. On behalf of the 42,000 unemployed North Carolinians who have been denied benefits, I call on the General Assembly to act and pass a bill that solely addresses these federally funded unemployment benefits."



This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • dlphnwmn8 May 30, 2011

    There is no better example of the saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” than this. And power they have. But are they acting as good stewards of their power? Instead of taking the moral high ground, as Berger states he knows of our hardships, and sending a clean bill (HB 676) to Perdue, he and every single republican instead elected to be cold, callous and vindictive when offered the chance to vote on legislation to restore benefits immediately. Remember this from just last week “Amendment failed on party lines. All Rs voted to keep benefit fix tied to budget measure. All Ds voted to separate them.” Which means Berger (and Tillis) continues to speak for all the republicans. In this interview Berger made it crystal clear he and the other republicans know we are experiencing extreme hardship and stress. But too bad. Unless they get what they want, we get nothing and continue to give up everything. Berger could not have made it any plainer that they just don’t care.

  • garydenny1965 May 27, 2011

    I dont think that these so called "Republican" Representives of this state dont get or dont care. They are closer to being "Nazi's". I think they get pleasure out of seeing the Citizen's of this state suffer. They need to Draged out of the Capital, and their money taken from them and sent back to the rock they crawled out from under. That is coming from along time "Real Republican"!!!!

  • dlphnwmn8 May 26, 2011

    Time to take a very public stand. All teachers, teachers aides, the SBI, social workers, etc. need to come together at the legislative buildings, and stay until the get it. The Republicans had a chance to separate the UI benefits, (which never shold have been attached anyway), vote and pass it. This could have been done in the same amount of time it took took vote to make NASCAR our state sport. Every Republican voted no while every Democrat voted yes. Lt. Gov. Dalton has allowed them to attach this unrelated bill to the budget while not allowing it to be attached to the health care bill. Why is beyond me. And neither he nor anyone in his office will respond. So time to take it to the streets, their local offices...anywhere they are we need to be there too.

  • dlphnwmn8 May 26, 2011

    Tillis on why House put off vote on benefits extension (H439) to next week: If Gov already says she'll veto it, why waste our time?

    House Wow. Moore just called the question. They've been in session for a whole 35 min. #holidayweekend?
    How nice they care more conceerend about their holiday weelend. I and many others will not have one, or food, or electricity, or water, or gas. Thanks Tillis, Berger, Stam and the rest.


  • kmcneil65 May 26, 2011

    Those jokers in the GA love tying an apple in front of you, just outta reach. I think they go home and laugh their hindparts off. They postponed this halfhearted attempt of help(HB439), until 5/31/2011..I knpw he's hard on the eyes, but watch hamBerger on WRALs " On The Record" this weekend , and see how much dribble can come out of a roach....guarantee, you'll be amazed

  • chancethretha May 26, 2011

    Again, Mr. Tillis and the Republicans have failed very dearly to give a clean bill!! What does the unemployment benefits have to do with the budget!!I feel again they are just trying to make a Wooman(Governor Perdue) Bow down!!! Guess what she is not!! She told you what you expected and that was it!! A clean bill!! SHe is not chaning her mind!!You cannot make someone doe what they say they are not going to do!! Sound like Republicans trying to make the Governor eat her words!! Guess what I say no too!! In 2012 The Democrats will gain control of the House and Senate and Obama will get 4 More Years!!! So bet everybody will be at the polls and you can bet!! some ot these people making these decisions will not have a job either!!!

  • Lucas Turner May 26, 2011

    Why can't Laura Leslie just report the news instead of interjecting her opinion, biases and thoughts just as she has above. She constantly states what Tillis or Berger says and then constantly states "well that isn't exactly correct....or the Governor actually sais this". Just report the news and let us readers interpret and analyze your objective reporting Leslie. We graduated high school also and do read, write and think.

  • ondraep May 26, 2011

    I have read quite a few comments from the concerned citizens of nc regarding this on going debate over unemployment benefits.I've come to the conclusion that our elected officials are simply incapable of putting aside their ballooned egos and political posturing to come up with any resolve. Rep. Tillis postponed voting on hb 439 calling it a waste of time because Gov. Perdue has all but vetoed said bill already.Gov. Purdue, Rep's,and Dalton I deem the lot of you unwilling and quite frankly incapable of true reprensentation of the citizens of NC!

  • jeffharris18 May 26, 2011

    I'm still going to vote Republican. This is Bev Perdue's fault.

  • leethree May 26, 2011

    Why can't the republicans simply pass a clean unemployment extension bill and get this behind them? Then they can focus on the budget with a commitment to have something passed that represents bipartisan views before July 1. The fact that they are coming back now with a 90 day freeze at 4% spending cut simply shows that they are playing games and willing to hold the unfortunate unemployed hostage. 45,000 votes just have to go to the democrats in 2012 because of this nonsense.