GOP counting noses on veto vote

House Speaker Thom Tillis says lawmakers may not hold a veto override vote Wednesday, after all.

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Laura Leslie

Republican leaders took some swings at Gov. Bev Perdue this morning, but stepped back a bit on their plans to override her veto of the anti-HCR mandate bill, House Bill 2.

Last night, the measure was put on Wednesday’s House calendar. But today, House Speaker Thom Tillis said that doesn’t mean they’ll vote on it then – or at all, in fact.

“We put House Bill 2 on the calendar so that we would have all of our options open,” Tillis said. “We are obviously speaking with members and looking at ways that we may be able to get their support. We don’t know if we will, but we’ve got to go through the process.”

Tillis wouldn’t say who the Republicans are talking to. “We have a number of friends in the Democratic caucus, and I think it’s obvious that there’s a political game being played here. It’s not the substance of the bill that’s in question. And so the real question is whether or not that’s a game they want to play.”

The GOP, with 68 seats in the House, needs four Democratic votes to get to 72 – the “three-fifths” number required to override a veto.

Two House Democrats voted in favor of House Bill 2: Granville Rep. Jim Crawford and Bladen Rep. Bill Brisson. Assuming they both remain supportive, Republicans need two more.

They’re likely to start with the three other Democrats who joined Crawford in voting for Tillis as Speaker: Bill Owens (D-Pasquotank), Dewey Hill (D-Columbus), and Tim Spear (D-Chowan). But Owens is out indefinitely after heart bypass surgery this weekend. So that leaves Hill and Spear –conservative Dems from conservative districts.

Hill says he’s been invited over to talk to Perdue today about the veto. Will he support her? “I don’t know. I haven’t made up my mind.”

Tillis was asked whether he’ll put the override up for a vote if he’s not sure it will succeed. “That’s something I would yield to the will of the caucus,” he said.

If the House doesn’t override it, the veto stands.

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