Sep 18, 2023 - News

NC Republicans to tie Medicaid expansion to casinos

Illustration of two hands pulling on either side of a rope with a hundred dollar bill tied in the middle

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

North Carolina's long-awaited budget may pass the legislature this week.

Driving the news: North Carolina Republicans are expected to roll out a new plan that would separate Medicaid expansion enactment and the controversial casinos proposal from the budget and running the pair of proposals together, in a bill of their own.

  • The rest of the budget, which has yet to be unveiled, will then run in a separate bill, Republicans told Axios over the weekend.

Why it matters: The plan could end a stalemate over casinos that halted the budget from moving forward as planned last week by ensuring Republicans opposed to casinos will vote for the budget and ensure its passage into law.

Do the math: Around 30 House Republicans were opposed to including casino legalization in the budget.

  • That means the GOP would likely need the help of dozens of Democrats to pass the casino-expansion bill in the chamber.
  • They'd need the support of even more Democrats — between 30 and 35 by some estimates — if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes the legislation, which he indicated over the weekend he might do, even though such a move could jeopardize the enactment of Medicaid expansion.
  • "GOP demand for passage of their backroom casino deal in exchange for a state budget and Medicaid expansion is the most brutally dishonest legislative scheme I've seen in my 3+ decades," Cooper said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Saturday.

What's next: Republicans plan to vote on the package of bills this week.


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