Are we done yet?
The House says the House budget will be published Friday, June 7. They promise the budget will be on the House floor next week. The question is can the House hold it together among its ranks long enough to get through the last few weeks? Clearly there are some splits and competitive factions, and a Speaker ready to hit the campaign trail … with a few successful initiatives to use as campaign material.
Many Republicans are upset about a “watered down” voter id bill from the House, a tax plan that does not cut individual and corporate rates as far as a Senate Plan and friction among factions. McCrory is visibly attached to Tillis on saving renewable energy, revamping (slightly) fracking fast track, tax reform and a revamped Dorothea Dix plan.
Tillis’ future could be interesting. As he sides with McCrory on a more moderate approach in Raleigh, he is not as well known as McCrory statewide and is seen less favorably among the more conservative base in his bid for US Senate. This pundit thinks he will ultimately end up in the McCrory Administration not the US Senate. Loyalty has its rewards.
I expect the NCGA to wrap it all up, with a few more inner-Republican squabbles and a few big House on Senate battles, and adjourn by early July.
After all, there is another reason to get out of town – Moral Monday. And the crowds are growing.
No one knows if the charges will actually stick for those arrested at the peaceful demonstrations. Public arrests for peacefully protesting in a public building meant for the public to assemble in are just getting tough to explain. And our right to assemble is guaranteed in our State Constitution. There is going to be legal action when all is said and done. The GOP handled this situation all wrong.
The larger the crowds, the more the national media notices and the more the average swing voter notices and asks why. It is compelling to see video and photos of doctors in white coats and young mothers in plastic handcuffs waiving bye to their kids. If nothing else, the scenes push the swing voter past the “noise” of politics to learn more about what exactly is happening at the NCGA and why people are willing to risk arrest for it.
GOP leaders can shake their heads and say the protests don’t matter. As one tried to persuade, “there is no buzz.” But there is a buzz and the longer the NCGA stays in session, the larger the crowds will grow and the more the GOP should fear an engaged and informed public. More than drawing out the Democratic base, the NAACP activities in counties and at the NCGA are educating and informing a diverse coalition which promises to be active in 2014. As some of my Republican friends pointed out, there are no counter-demonstrations of support.
Excitement is building in the opposition. For the NCGA leadership, the sooner they adjourn the better. And for that to happen quickly, McCrory need only stay aligned with Tillis and the House.
Jeanne Milliken Bonds is a PR Consultant, NC Spin Commentator, Host of Plain Talk Politics and former Mayor.
Cross-Post: NC SPIN