The state Senate finally got around to debating its $21.4 billion budget proposal — after it had passed the chamber by a 31-14 vote.
"To cut off debate on the most important piece of legislation that this body enacts, it seems to me is a miscarriage of everything that democracy stands for," said Berger, a Rockingham County Republican.
On Wednesday, during the first of two required votes on the budget, Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand called for closing off discussion after a handful of amendments had been considered. Democrats supported his motion, preventing Republicans from speaking on the budget bill.
Rand didn't discuss his parliamentary move on Thursday, but he responded to Berger's budget criticisms.
Rand said the budgets lawmakers passed in previous years have helped create a small surplus this year, while other states are struggling with deep deficits. He also said investments in education have helped North Carolina transition from an economy based on tobacco and manufacturing to one burgeoning with high technology and banking jobs.
"So when you think about North Carolina, think about number one place to live, number one place to do business," said Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat. "The place is growing like a weed."