Tillis backs closed-door caucus comments

Posted June 4, 2011

Just minutes after finding out that comments he and his caucus made behind closed doors were broadcast to the press room, House Speaker Thom Tillis came out swinging – and joking – at a previously scheduled press conference.

Tillis tapped the microphone. “Is this thing on?”

During the meeting, Majority Leader Skip Stam had called Gov. Bev Perdue “incompetent.” Tillis doubled down on that, arguing that “incompetence was involved” in her handling of the unemployment benefits logjam, which ended via an executive order Perdue signed Friday afternoon.

“If the governor really does have the authority to execute that executive order, then where in the world has she been for the last 7 weeks?” Tillis asked. “And if the governor doesn’t have that executive authority, then why in the world is she trying to break the law when she knows she’s got a budget that’s about to come before her that fixes this problem?”

Perdue said she had received advice just Thursday that the Department of Labor would allow her to use an executive order to make a legal change that would allow federal checks to begin flowing again to nearly 47,000 jobless North Carolinians.

“Is there anybody in here with a straight face either on this side or that side that believes that?” Tillis asked. “Puh-LEASE. If I can, as an executive, cause this to go away, I’m gonna come down the street and deal with this when it’s within my power? That’s the most absurd position I’ve heard the office take yet.”

Tillis said the governor should sign the budget quickly because teachers and assistants are already being laid off by local officials anticipating cuts. “That’s not right. We have a budget that restores all the K-12 education funding for teachers and teachers assistants. The minute this budget gets signed, those folks don’t have to worry about being out of a job three weeks from now.”

The speaker said he’s confident the five Democrats who voted for the GOP budget the first time – Crawford, Owens, Hill, Brisson, and Spear – will vote to override Perdue’s veto if needed.

“I think it’s irresponsible for the governor to play games for the next ten days when she knows this budget is likely to become law with or without her support,” he said.

Tillis also answered questions about the caucus discussion on redistricting provisions in the budget, a topic GOP leaders told members to avoid talking about in floor debate.

“We’re just trying to provide certainty. Once we get our redistricting plans done, we just want to make sure somebody doesn’t stick them in a desk drawer somewhere for a while,” he said. 

Why would the GOP’s five Democratic allies be “extremely sensitive,” as was said in caucus, to a provision allowing Republican leaders to shut the Attorney General’s office out of redistricting?

“I’m sure that the extent to which you could try and limit our options for having fair and legal distrcts get implemented, the other side would want to do that. If I were them, I would assume that would be their motivation.”

Why are Republicans planning to submit their plan straight to the DC circuit court, rather than sending it to the Dept. of Justice, the usual first step?

“Clearly, we’d rather take it through the channel that we think best benefits us in terms of getting the plans through. I generally have a high degree of confidence in the courts,” Tillis said.

“We just think it’ll be a lot faster to get pre-clearance,” House Redistricting Chair David Lewis added. “Basically, all you’re doing is filing a suit against the Justice Department to pre-clear your plan, and it makes them respond.” Lewis said Republicans are concerned that “if we went the other route, it would get put off and put off and put off and put off, till all of the sudden we don’t have time – we don’t have fair and legal districts.”

“It’s this gray area,” Tillis said. “We’re just trying to make it black and white. If people want to go through, they are part of the process, they probably should have an opportunity but there needs to be limits on it.” House GOP on open mics, budget House GOP on open mics, budget

Tillis also denied that the five Democrats who voted for the budget had been promised special considerations in the redistricting process in return.

“We asked them to come to the table and work with us about three months ago. That was the carrot – actually treating them with respect, actually taking their ideas when they made sense.”

Watch the video of the press conference at right.  


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • edith wharton Jun 7, 2011

    “Clearly, we’d rather take it through the channel that we think best benefits us in terms of getting the plans through. I generally have a high degree of confidence in the courts,” Tillis said.

    Meaning, of course, that they are likely to get the okay from their friends who would be hearing it on the local level. On the other hand, the DoJ is not quite as liable to go along with their plans. ALL politicians are tempted by gerrymandering - who wouldn't be? Their primary concern is securing their own seats. We will never have "fair" districts until the elected officials are not responsible for drawing up their own districts. It's amazing how few people know or care about the rampant gerrymandering in our state.

  • stanmak Jun 7, 2011

    and it warms my heart to read the "ESC processing checks for restored jobless benefits" thread. i guess you lurkers stick to the threads less traveled to be safe

  • stanmak Jun 6, 2011

    all i can say to you two pees in a pod is
    ;) bless your hearts ;)

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 6, 2011

    I stand corrected...it ain't paint thinner after all. Hasta be aviation gasoline. Contact! ;)

  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 6, 2011

    Stanmak: congratulations on finding work and I hope you do well. Have a great life.

  • stanmak Jun 6, 2011

    i found a job when my benefits got cut off. just above min wage, but its more than the benefits were paying. so yall just keep totin the demo line in bevs pocket and keep parroting everying that LL and bev say and people like me will keep calling you out on it. then you get scared and run down a rabbit trail of idiocracy ie @sarctesticles

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 6, 2011

    Everyday, then. Thought so. ;)

  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 6, 2011

    stanak: again....HB 676....shoulda....woulda and coulda passed. But...you got your benefits. And yes you repeadted stated the obvious in that theyr were not going to pass HB 676 but were and still are strangely silent as to not nly why, but how that made you feel. Instead you continuw to spew venom in Perdues direction and at anyone else who doesn't agree with your take on her. Either way, I know you are frustrated and would just like to find a job and get your life back like the rest of us want to. So I wish you good luck in your job search and a joyful and peaceful life.

  • stanmak Jun 6, 2011

    then its confirm sartcesticles- bev makes a political move to issue an exec order that was 7 weeks overdue. 7 weeks. i said from the getgo that she needed to "step up" so after 7WEEKS she decides to do this????? WHY NOT in WEEK ONE!!????
    WAKE ;) UP ;)



  • SARCASTICLES Jun 6, 2011

    WHAT "Michael Moore Conspiracies"? They DID all that stuff, and Bev Nuked 'em, and robbed 'em of their "credit" for "restoring benefits" that THEY HIJACKED in the FIRST place. Do you huff paint thinner EVERYDAY, or just on weekends? ;)