- The Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state budget with a 55-9 vote.
- Some reports indicated that some House Democrats were away attending 9/11 memorial events when the vote took place, though it was unclear how many.
- Democratic leaders accused Republicans of trickery, saying that Republicans had assured them there would be no formal votes on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorr attacks.
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Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives stunned their Democratic colleagues on Wednesday by holding a surprise vote and passing a controversial budget while many of its members were absent.
The Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the state budget with a 55-9 vote, while colleagues were absent from the floor during a 9/11 memorial ceremony.
To override a governor's veto, the Republicans needed to secure a three-fifths majority vote among those present. Local news outlets reported that Republicans in the state had been trying for months to override Cooper's veto, and seized an opportunity on a morning typically set aside to honor the 2,977 people killed on the 9/11 attacks 18 years ago.
It's unclear how many of the absent Democrats were attending 9/11 memorial services during the vote. Cooper said he was at such an event and didn't know if other members were present, and The News & Observer reported that at least some of the Democratic members were as well.
Democrats also said they were tricked by Republicans into believing there would be no vote in their absence. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said at a press conference that the House Rules chairman told him the chamber would hold no recorded votes on the floor until 1 p.m.
'You are making a mockery of this process'
Cooper told reporters in a press conference Wednesday that Republicans' move was "a true assault on our democracy. There is no question about it."
He said voters should be "outraged that this Republican leadership would orchestrate such deception, such trickery in order to get their way."
Reports quickly surfaced on social media of chaos on the House floor, as Democrats shouted at their Republican colleagues for the move. Rep. Deb Butler, a Democrat who was present for the vote, could be heard condemning the Republican House Speaker Tim Moore.
"How dare you do this, Mr. Speaker," Butler said. "Mr. Speaker, you are making a mockery of this process, you are deceiving all of North Carolina. Your leadership is an embarrassment to the history of this great state."
Butler later told reporters she was threatened with arrest, the NBC affiliate WRAL reported , though the House Sergeant at Arms denied any threats were made.
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