NCDP Clips for September 4, 2013
#NCGA Republican slap back McCrory; override vetoes, McCrory’s 1st year numbers’ woes, Nancy Pelosi’s Syria ‘Test,’ Sen Begich (D-AK) holding up well against GOP front-runner, NC Board of Elections rules in favor of Montravias King; upholds gutting of Watauga voting site and teachers put pressure on for DHHS salary investigation
Two bills passed by the North Carolina General Assembly this summer are now law despite Gov. Pat McCrory’s formal objections to them. The Senate decided Wednesday morning to override McCrory’s vetoes. The House canceled both of them Tuesday after less than an hour of debate. The measures that are now law require drug-testing for welfare recipients and create a wider exemption for employers to calculate whether they must access a federal database to determine the legal status of new hires.
There was never any real question about what the Senate would do, with its firm Republican majority, even though Democrats who had supported the bills in July lined up in favor of sustaining the vetoes on Wednesday. Democrats offered no debate, however, and so both overrides were accomplished in just six minutes. Afterward, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger echoed House Speaker Thom Tillis’ remarks from Tuesday downplaying the political damage that Gov. Pat McCrory might have incurred from losing the veto fight.
In less than 40 minutes of debate, the House voted to override vetoes on bills that would require drug-testing for some welfare applicants and broaden an exemption for employers to avoid using the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new workers. The 77-39 vote for the drug testing and the 84-32 margin on the immigration-related bills cleared the three-fifths majorities needed for overrides.
Critics of Republican policies in North Carolina used the return of legislators for a veto override session Tuesday as an occasion to call for an investigative hearing and to give GOP legislators failing grades this year.The North Carolina Association of Educators and Progress North Carolina Action held a morning news conference at the Legislative Building before the General Assembly gaveled in its session.They lamented the lack of salary increases for teachers this year while key young members of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration got large pay raises in recent months. Much of the focus has been on to two members of McCrory’s campaign team now each making more than $80,000 at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Lawmakers return to Raleigh on Tuesday to consider overriding vetoes of two immigration and drug-testing-for-welfare-recipients bills. House Republican leaders may think they have enough votes, but Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has been fighting to the end to sway them, using new media to get his points across and relying on old-fashioned endorsements.
WFAE: Comparing Unpopularity Of McCrory, Perdue
With the special legislative session to consider overriding Governor Pat McCrory’s vetoes, the final actions of this year’s “long session” of the NC General Assembly is coming to close. And with the dust settling from the legislative actions, it’s worth taking stock of the reaction of public opinion toward the chief executive, especially in comparison to his predecessor. While McCrory can claim a more “approving” public opinion than his predecessor Bev Perdue at the end of their first summer in office, it is striking that they both found a comparable majority of the public disapproving.
A local CEO was shocked by Governor McCrory’s comments in Rob Christensen’s Sunday N&O story (“During session and beyond, McCrory has rough start”).Here’s the message he left on voice mail: “I can’t tell you a CEO in any organization who could get away with saying I have no agenda, I have no legacy, my job is boring. Is there a board in the country that would accept a CEO who doesn’t have a desire to move whatever organization they’re running in big way? Or allow them to get away with saying their job is boring, which by the way I think is insulting to the people who elected him?”He rated the Governor this way: “midlevel McCrory.”
Democrats try to curtail GOP dominance in the South, the party’s top recruits for 2014 elections are trying to sell themselves as problem solvers above Washington’s partisan gridlock.They’re casting the Republicans’ anti-government mantra and emphasis on social issues like abortion and gay marriage as ideological obstacles to progress on "bread-and-butter" issues like public education, infrastructure and health care. That goes beyond their usual effort to distance themselves from President Barack Obama and national Democrats, and it’s the closest thing the Democratic Party has to a unified strategy in the region beyond simply waiting for demographics to shift in the long term to ensure they can compete with Republicans.
President Barack Obama said failing to respond militarily to the sarin gas attack in Syria would embolden Bashar al-Assad to strike with chemical weapons again and erode the international norm against using such arms. Obama sought to keep up pressure on the U.S. Congress as it considers authorizing him to use force against Syria and to build more international support for U.S. action. “My credibility is not on the line, the international community’s credibility is on the line” because of the broad consensus that chemical weapons use must be prohibited, Obama said at a news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Stockholm.
Nancy Pelosi is facing one of her biggest tests as House minority leader in helping muscle a military strike on Syria through the House. With a majority of House Republicans unlikely to support President Barack Obama’s use-of-force resolution, Pelosi’s Democrats will be key to passing an authorization of force resolution— likely to be narrower than the White House draft that was sent to Capitol Hill on Saturday night. It’s a somewhat unusual position for House Democrats, who have been only marginally important since losing the House majority in 2010. But if they joined with a handful of Republicans — including House Speaker John Boehner — to approve a Syria strike, they would be following a pattern that worked earlier in the year when Democrats helped Republicans pass the fiscal cliff deal and aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
President Obama will seek international support for proposed military strikes against Syria during his three-day trip to Sweden and Russia this week.Prospects for direct military intervention by U.S. allies look dim at this point, though French President François Hollande said Tuesday he would ask other European states to support an attack. Obama left Washington on Tuesday evening en route to Stockholm, where he’ll meet with European leaders. From there, he’ll continue to St. Petersburg for a G-20 economic forum.
Politico: Hillary Clinton backs President Obama on Syria
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backs President Barack Obama’s move to urge Congress to back a targeted effort in Syria, in the first comments from her camp since the president unveiled his plan, POLITICO has learned.“Secretary Clinton supports the president’s effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime’s horrific use of chemical weapons,” a Clinton aide told POLITICO.
Bloomberg: Obama Gets Boehner’s Support in ‘Call to Action’ Against
President Barack Obama urged Congress to take a “prompt” vote authorizing military action against Syria and won support from the two top House Republicans even as two polls found opposition from the American public. Backing from House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor will help Obama as he makes his case to lawmakers who’ve questioned the administration’s evidence that the Syrian government launched a sarin gas attack last month and whether the U.S. has a vital interest in Syria.
Politico: On Syria, House GOP won’t follow their leaders
The whip count on Syria has become like the war itself: No one in Washington wants to own it alone. While most top congressional leaders have vowed to back President Barack Obama in seeking authority to launch missile strikes, there’s little evidence that they can — or even want to — help him round up the rank-and file-Republicans he’ll need to win a vote in the House. Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman said that he “expects the White House to provide answers to members’ questions and take the lead on any whipping effort.” Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whose aides and allies run the whip process, isn’t yet in favor of Obama’s request for military authority in Syria.
Leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they reached an agreement on Tuesday on a draft authorization for the use of military force in Syria that was much narrower than the request made by President Barack Obama, paving the way for a vote by the committee on Wednesday. Among other provisions, the draft, which was obtained by Reuters, sets a 60-day limit on U.S. military action in Syria, with a possibility of a single 30-day extension subject to conditions. Obama is asking Congress to back his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians during a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.
Now Kerry, the secretary of state, and Hagel, the secretary of defense, are seeking its approval. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez opened today’s hearing by noting that he voted against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq yet now supports President Barack Obama’s intention of retaliating against Syria for its deployment of chemical weapons.“The decision rests with us — it is not political,”’ said Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat. “The president has decided to ask Congress for our support. Now the eyes of the world are upon us.”
Slate: Hawks, Doves, Fence Sitters
This is why the Congressional debate over the president’s decision to attack Syria is so fraught. The well-worn partisan splits don’t tell us much. House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor are supporting the president, but they’re leaving it up to Obama to make the case to colleagues who don’t like him and and many of whose constituents are against action. A recent Pew poll found 48 percent of voters, including 40 percent of Republicans oppose action. (Only 29 percent of the public favors action and only 35 percent of Republicans do.)
U.S. Senator Mark Begich has a lead in his race for reelection according to some new polling data released late last week. The polling data is from Anchorage based Hays Research Group and it shows that Senator Begich is supported by 50.4-percent of Alaskans. Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell has the support of 38.5-percent of voters.
Huffington Post: GOP Strategist Calls Alison Lundergan Grimes ‘An Empty Dress’
A month after Kentucky Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes pulled slightly ahead of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in the polls, Republican strategists seem to be sharpening their claws. Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, called Grimes “an empty dress” in an interview with The Hill published Wednesday. The insults continued from there.
North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger is still deciding whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate in 2014. Online, however, his campaign appears well underway, telegraphing clues about his preparation and messaging.
There are currently 49 House seats rated as competitive by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. That is down from the 68 seats rated as competitive prior to the 2012 elections and less than half of the 109 competitive seats in 2010. But it is closer to the three elections that began the previous decade, when there wasn’t a national wave. In 2000 and 2002, 54 races were rated as competitive. In 2004, at the same point in the redistricting cycle as this year’s races, there were just 38 competitive seats.
The hour will soon arrive when Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announces whether she will run for governor, and if she does, Texas politics will never be the same.The challenges facing Republicans in Texas are similar to the challenges facing Republicans nationally, which is what I discussed in my new column about the battle between traditional Republicans and a new breed of old-idea Republicans I labeled the neo-confederates. Texas will almost certainly go blue. The question is how fast. If Davis runs for governor, where she will be a fighting underdog with a real but long-shot chance of winning; and if Hillary Clinton runs for president, where she will have an even money chance of carrying Texas, the surge of Democrats in Texas will be accelerated
Under the glare of a national media spotlight, the North Carolina Board of Elections ruled on two cases Tuesday that offered a glimpse of where the five members appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory stand on the changed electoral landscape. The board members unanimously agreed that an Elizabeth City State University student can run for local office, reversing a decision by the Republican-controlled Pasquotank County elections board. But in a 4-1 vote, the state board brushed aside an attempt to overturn a Watauga County elections board decision to close an early-voting site on the Appalachian State University campus for the coming municipal election.
Under the glare of a national media spotlight, the North Carolina Board of Elections ruled on two cases Tuesday that offered a glimpse of where the five members appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory stand on the changed electoral landscape. The board members unanimously agreed that an Elizabeth City State University student can run for local office, reversing a decision by the Republican-controlled Pasquotank County elections board.
During the State Board of Elections’ meeting Tuesday, two hotly contested issues, student voting and involvement, were decided in an overflowing boardroom. The board voted unanimously to allow Montravias King, a senior at Elizabeth City State University, to run for city council with his on-campus residence hall address. They also voted 4-1 to uphold the elimination of a one-stop early voting site on Appalachian State University’s campus for the upcoming municipal election.
The North Carolina Association of Educators called for an investigation Tuesday into raises granted Gov. Pat McCrory’s former campaign aides after the governor called for a freeze on wage hikes. It’s the legislature’s job to examine “the glaring scandal over taxpayer-funded pay raises,’ said NCAE President Rodney Ellis at a news conference Tuesday morning outside the Legislative Building. Public attention has focused on two 24-year-old McCrory campaign staffers, Ricky Diaz and Matt McKillip, who went on to work at the state Department of Heath and Human Services for salaries of $85,000 and $87,500.
Stars News Online: NC school board to discuss class size limits
North Carolina’s statewide school board is scheduled to hear about changes adopted by the General Assembly that allow more crowding in public school classrooms.The State Board of Education meeting Wednesday includes a discussion about changes that include eliminating class-size limits for fourth-graders and above. Kindergarten through third-grade classrooms are supposed to have no more than 21 students, but the re-written law allows up to 24 students in those early grades for the first two months of the year.
ABC News: NC Association of Teachers and the Forward Together Movement letting lawmakers know how they measure up (VIDEO)
Planned Parenthood has more friends in deep-red Texas than you might think. The announcement last week that Ross Perot’s family foundation was giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas—one of the ten largest gifts in the affiliate’s history—is just the latest sign that, despite the ceaseless political assault on the women’s health organization, it still has powerful support even in one of the most conservative parts of the country.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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