McCrory Threatens Senate Budget Veto

RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory says he’d veto any North Carolina budget plan on his desk that raises teacher pay dramatically like the Senate wants because it would mean huge cuts elsewhere to pay for it.

McCrory told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday he’s not going to risk key government services and allow Medicaid reductions to accept the Senate’s average 11 percent pay offer. The original Senate proposal cut funding for thousands of teacher assistants to pay for it.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement Thursday:

“I’m disappointed by the governor’s threat to veto the largest teacher pay raise in state history and surprised by his demand for a budget without cuts to teacher assistants and Medicaid – given that his own budget included almost $20 million in cuts to teacher assistants along with significant, though ultimately achievable, cuts to Medicaid.

“The governor has been unable to sustain any of his previous vetoes in the Senate. It would be more helpful for him to work with members of both chambers of the legislature, since his unwillingness to listen to those who have an honest disagreement with him on spending priorities in favor of staging media stunts and budget gimmicks is a major reason the budget has not been finalized.”

The governor is siding with the latest House offer to raises teacher pay on average by 6 percent, up from 5 percent. He says 6 percent is about as far as he can go and feel comfortable.

The two chambers are negotiating budget adjustment for the year that started July 1.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/mccrory-threatens-senate-budget-veto/

GOP Can Count Ways To Senate Majority

 

WASHINGTON — Republicans count enough competitive races to challenge Democrats for control of the Senate in next year’s elections. But tea party challenges will make it complicated for them.

Many Republicans worry about crowded primaries in states such as Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina where tea partyers and social conservatives are fighting for the nomination. Some feel tea party victors in similar fights prevented Republicans from winning a Senate majority in 2010 and again in 2012.

Democrats hold an effective 55-45 edge in the Senate now. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to capture control. The numbers favor them. Democrats will be defending 21 of 35 seats to be decided next November. President Barack Obama’s falling popularity and the unpopularity of his health care law also could help GOP candidates.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/gop-can-count-ways-senate-majority/

House GOP Conservatives Help Propel Budget Bill

WASHINGTON — A sweeping vote by conservative Republicans controlling the House and President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies has sent a bipartisan budget agreement to the Senate, where it will encounter stronger but probably futile resistance from the GOP.

The modest package passed by the House would ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month. Supporters of the measure easily beat back attacks on it from conservative organizations that sometimes raise money by stoking conflict within the Republican Party.

Democrats who were upset that the bill does not extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed suppressed their doubts to advance the measure to the Democratic-led Senate, where Obama’s supporters appear set to clear it next week for his signature.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/house-gop-conservatives-help-propel-budget-bill/

Sen. Hagan’s Fate May Rest In The Hands Of The President

RALEIGH - Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen says the 2014 senate race will be greatly affected by the President’s approval rating.

“It’s really kind of amazing,” Jensen says. “Barack Obama’s approval has dropped ten points in North Carolina since September; Kay Hagan’s net approvals has dropped ten points in North Carolina since September. We really are seeing that Obama’s fate is basically dictating Hagan’s fate.”

Democrats are losing points when the Affordable Care Act and its website aren’t working the way legislators said it would. Senator Hagan sent a request to the Obama Administration to launch an investigation into the problems behind the ACA, but Jensen says that hasn’t really helped her numbers.

“She’s not somebody who voters have really strong feelings about one way or the other,” Jensen says. “So, where she ends up in our polls sort of goes up and down depending on other things that are going on politically.”

Jensen says the next 11 months will be crucial for Senator Hagan.

“Really, if it’s a good year for Democrats, Hagan should be fine,” Jensen says. “If it’s a bad year for Democrats, she’s in a lot of trouble. If it’s kind of a neutral year, I think we should expect a pretty close race.”

There are five Republicans vying for the opposition to Senator Hagan. Jensen says the numbers have started to settle, and that over the last three months there’s been a big shift in how the race is looking.

“Kay Hagan is up on Thom Tillis by two points, tied with both Heather Grant and Mark Harris, and down by two points to both Greg Brannon and Bill Flynn,” Jensen says.

Public Policy Polling found 43 percent of voters approve of the job Senator Hagan is doing while 49 percent disapprove.

To see the complete results of the polls, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/sen-hagans-fate-may-rest-hands-president/

House Republicans Get Behind Budget Agreement

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are rallying behind a modest budget pact that promises to bring a temporary halt to budget brinkmanship in Washington and ease automatic budget cuts that would otherwise slam the Pentagon and domestic agencies for a second straight year.

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats also are praising the measure negotiated with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who has morphed, however briefly, from an uncompromising small-government stalwart into a dealmaker eager to claim a partial victory on the budget.

The deal Ryan negotiated with Senate Democratic counterpart Patty Murray would preserve the bulk of tough agency spending cuts the GOP won in a 2011 showdown with Obama, while reducing the chances of a rerun of the partial government shutdown.

It’s set for a vote Thursday.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/house-republicans-get-behind-budget-agreement/

GOP, Obama Line Up Behind Modest Budget Deal

WASHINGTON — Top Republicans and President Barack Obama are lining up behind a modest but hard-won bipartisan budget agreement that seeks to replace a portion of tough spending cuts facing the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The deal to ease those cuts for two years is aimed less at chipping away at the nation’s $17 trillion national debt than it is at trying to help a dysfunctional Capitol stop lurching from crisis to crisis.

It would set the stage for action in January on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the current budget year.

The measure unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate counterpart Patty Murray of Washington blends $85 billion in spending cuts and fees to replace $63 billion in cuts to agency budgets over the coming two years.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/gop-obama-line-behind-modest-budget-deal/

AP-GfK Poll: Low Approval Of Congress, Obama

WASHINGTON — A new poll finds Americans hold Congress in strikingly low regard as a midterm election year nears. Nearly two-thirds say they would like to see their House member replaced.

The Associated Press-GfK poll finds that elected officials in Washington are not benefiting from the public’s slightly improved view of the economy and their own personal finances.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is negative: 58 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing, while 42 percent approve.

The low opinions of Congress don’t necessarily signal major power shifts next year in the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate. Many House districts are safe enough to protect incumbents despite public discontent.

Most Americans favor a pathway to legal status for immigrants living here illegally. The House has not approved such a measure.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/ap-gfk-poll-low-approval-congress-obama/

Sen. Hagan Approval Slipping in Wake of Obamacare Web Launch

Raleigh – The failed launch of the Obamacare website is acting like gravity for the approval ratings of democrats in Washington D.C.

***Listen to the Story***

Senator Kay Hagan’s approval ratings are changing, but Public Policy Polling Analyst Jim Williams says they’re not going the direction the Hagan administration would prefer.

“We had found Kay Hagan with a small, but consistent lead throughout most of this year,” Williams says, “We’re finding now that it’s really kind of crept into a statistical tie at this point.”

The poll shows Hagan in a dead heat with her prospective 2014 opponents; coming in no more than three points ahead of state House Speaker Tom Tillis, Heather Grant, and Rev. Mark Harris. And she’s trailing one point behind Greg Brannon.

So what’s the force behind the trend?

“That stems probably from the botched roll out of the Obamacare website,” says Williams.

The website has been a nightmare for the faces of the Democratic Party since healthcare.gov opened its marketplace for federal health insurance on October 1.

“Obama’s approval rating in September was 48 percent approve, 29 percent disapprove,” Williams says, “Now it’s down to 43 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove.”

Williams says North Carolinians have responded negatively to the health care plan they were already skeptical of in the first place.

“Obamacare has never been particularly popular in North Carolina, but now only 38 percent of voters say they approve of it, compared to 48 percent who disapprove,” Williams says.

“Even worse 69 percent of voters say its rollout has been unsuccessful so far.”

The 2014 senate election is still a year away. Williams says there’s a large group of undecided voters who could come to Hagan’s rescue.

“The race is sort of unformed as far as the senate race,” Williams says, “A lot of the folks who either are running or may run are not well-known to the voters yet; so that’s why you’re seeing high numbers of undecided voters.”

Senator Hagan originally supported the Affordable Care Act. But she announced Tuesday that she is asking for an investigation of the failed website launch.

http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/sen-hagan-approval-slipping-in-wake-of-obamacare-web-launch/

Lynette Hartsell Files For Senate Seat

Photo by Angie Newsome

CHAPEL HILL - Lynette Hartsell, an attorney for 30 years, announced Friday that she filed for Ellie Kinnaird’s seat in the NC Senate.

Hartsell says she thinks she could represent some of the ideas that Kinnaird fought for during her time.

“I think the reason she is stepping down is telling about the process that is taking place there, but I believe that she and I are on the same page in regard to issues that she has fought for” Hartsell stated.

Recently, the NC Congress has passes a number of laws that Kinnaird argued against, like the Voter I.D. bill and the Motorcycle bill that restricted abortion in the state.  Hartsell says she sees many issues with the NC General Assembly and wants to change some of what has happened.

“Well I think that obviously, the main issue has to do with a lot of the redistricting that’s taking place, and a lot of the voter ids that are attempting to be passed an enforced, but I think most importantly too are the economic issues that involve all the citizens of the state” Hartsell said.

Kinnaird’s open seat will only be a temporary appointment until elections in 2014.  Many of the people who have filed for this seat have many years of experience holding office, like Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, former N.C. House member, Alice Bordsen, and current N.C. House member, Valerie Foushee.  Hartsell says she has many years of experience in law, but has little when it comes to holding office.

“No I haven’t, in terms of holding an office not at all, I’ve always just been involved in various grassroots efforts to get people elected” Hartsell commented.

Hartsell is among seven candidates looking for the appointment, all ranging in experience.

For more information on Lynette Hartsell click here.

Full interview is below

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/lynette-hartsell-files-for-senate-seat/

Berger Still Not Ready To Decide On US Senate Bid

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Republican leader of the North Carolina state Senate says he should make a decision by the end of July about whether to enter the race to try to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan.

Senator Phil Berger told reporters Tuesday about his potential timetable. The Eden attorney has been weighing a bid for several months. His counterpart in the House – Speaker Thom Tillis – already announced in May he would seek the Republican primary nomination.

Berger confirmed he spoke Tuesday morning with representatives of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which recruits candidates and usually gives financial support to primary victors.

Physician Greg Brannon of Cary is running in the GOP primary. The Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte is considering getting in as well.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/berger-still-not-ready-to-decide-on-us-senate-bid/