Senate GOP: Six overrides "strong message" to Perdue

Posted July 13, 2011 6:12 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2011 6:17 p.m. EDT

Senate Leader Phil Berger called the unprecedented six veto overrides in his chamber today a "strong message" to Gov. Bev Perdue.

Berger said the "broad bipartisan support" for three of the six overrides shows that even Democratic lawmakers thought the bills were in the state's best interests, despite Perdue's objections. "It just became so clear that she was so out of step with the people of North Carolina," Berger said at a news conference this afternoon.

"It is our expectation that the House will follow suit, hopefully on all of them," he said.  

But Berger said he's concerned partisanship will block overrides in the House, where Republicans need at least four Democrats to reach the three-fifths vote required to override a veto. 

"I expect that if the members of the House are looking at the merits of those various bills, then they will pass," Berger said. "I'm some concerned that on the House side, the politics may get in the way of the actual merits." 

Berger also said the Senate is not looking to take on a broad rewrite of the state's election laws during the special session.  The resolution authorizing the session would allow consideration of elections bills, and  the House Elections committee is already scheduled to meet twice in the next week.  

"If they send us something,  then we'll take a look at it," Berger said. "But at this point, I don't know that that's what's going to happen. There's not at this point any plan on our part to send such a bill to them." 

Berger also responded to criticism from Democratic leaders who say the GOP budget has cost the state 2,000 education jobs just in its first month. 

"We expected there to be some job losses," Berger said. "You cannot cut a billion dollars out of the continuation budget...and not have positions eliminated. We've said that all along."  

But he said the tens of thousands of layoffs some Democrats predicted have not materialized. "It appears to me we've been a more accurate predictor than they have." 

You can watch the unedited video of Berger's press conference at right.