RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) — House Republicans in North Carolina’s state legislature voted Wednesday to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a contentiously partisan two-year budget proposal — a vote that occurred while nearly half of the chamber’s members were missing from the floor.
“Today Republicans waged an assault on our democracy,” Cooper said during a press conference following the House vote. He confirmed that many absent Democratic members of the House were at a 9/11 memorial service Wednesday morning.
While many Democrats were gone, the state’s Republican-led House of Representatives got a 55-9 vote to scrap Cooper’s veto of the budget proposal, igniting accusations of deception, as many members were under the impression there would be no vote Wednesday morning.
Cooper called the surprise vote by Republican lawmakers “their most deceptive stunt yet,” during a press announcement Wednesday.
“You look at the number of people who were in that chamber and how many of them were Republicans and how many of them were Democrats. There’s no confusion about what happened here,” Cooper said during a heated press conference that followed his veto’s override.
“This was a lie and we know why they were not there because they were told that there were not going to be votes,” he added.
Cooper and other Democratic leaders on Wednesday accused Republican House Speaker Tim Moore of tricking the chamber into believing the day’s plans did not include a vote on the contested budget.
Cooper vetoed the originally proposed budget on June 28, criticizing the perceived lack of Medicaid expansion for thousands of low-income families.
The governor also took issue with the proposed raises for teachers that were included in the budget.
Teachers rallied in the Capital earlier this year to demand better wages for themselves and other school employees.
Tax reductions for corporations that were included in the Republican proposal also influenced Cooper’s veto, he said.
The House vote Wednesday comes shortly after a three-judge panel in Raleigh ordered that new election maps must be drawn to replace politically gerrymandered voting districts that were drawn by a deceased Republican mapmaker.
New districts in North Carolina will be drawn in time for the 2020 elections.
Republicans took control of the state’s General Assembly in 2011, aided, in part, by racially gerrymandered voting maps.
Cooper’s election in 2016 helped Democrats gain power that year.
The Republican supermajority in the House was crushed last year during the Midterm elections.
When the chamber is full, veto overrides are not possible due to the 2018 development in Democratic power over the state.
The Senate will still have to vote in order to secure the voidance of Cooper’s veto.