GOP calls on Cooper to sign budget that includes support for Gold Star Children

Eamon Queeney—North State Journal
Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) defends the budget during debate as the North Carolina Senate votes for the third time to pass the budget compromise at the Legislative Building in Raleigh on June 21. The Senate passed the almost $23 billion budget on the third reading and the House will finish voting for the third time on Thursday.

RALEIGH — On Monday, a group of N.C. veterans and Republican county leaders called on N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper to support expanded aid for the children of war veterans killed in action. Scholarships for Gold Star Children is in the state budget passed by the N.C. General Assembly last week, but Cooper is reportedly considering vetoing it. The General Assembly would likely overrule the veto.”If Gov. Cooper is successful in his veto of the state budget, he will deny $14.4 million in scholarships for children of veterans killed in the line of duty,” said Bob Pruett, who is a retired Marine and president of the Carteret County Republican Men’s Club. “Children who lost parents in wartime serving our nation can never be repaid, but Cooper should help those children get a good education, rather than vetoing their opportunities.”More than a million dollars in additional funds for the Gold Star scholarships got support from Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature.”For those of us who served and survived, we have a duty to look after the children who were left behind when our comrades fell, and Gov. Roy Cooper has the same duty,” said Carl Mischka, who served in the U.S. Army and is chairman of the Craven County GOP.Cooper, in his first term as governor, has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the spending plan, sent to him by the legislature on Thursday. Cooper told reporters that it is “the most fiscally irresponsible budget that [he] has ever seen.”He says the bill fails to meet his expectations on teacher pay, education and combating the opioid epidemic, and instead prioritizes tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations instead of the middle-class.Republican leadership argued that their budget does align with many of Cooper’s priorities, including lines for a 9.6 percent average teacher raise, $10 million for opioid treatment centers, and $700 million more for North Carolina classrooms. “The people of North Carolina expect their elected officials to keep their word,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) told reporters at a press conference on Thursday morning. “Governor, if the things you’ve said and campaigned on are more than just empty promises, you will sign this budget.”Cooper stopped short of saying he will veto the budget despite his harsh words about it. He has 10 days from the day he received the budget to decide whether to sign or veto it. Republican lawmakers say they will move to override a gubernatorial veto.