GOV. McCRORY SUPPORTS SENATE BILL 4 -- Rejects Medicaid expansion and state-sponsored health care exchange Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement Tuesday morning announcing he does not support expanding Medicaid to as many 500,000 people in North Carolina, many of them uninsured, and wants the federal government to set up an exchange for the state.
The announcement vanishes any thought McCrory may side with six other Republican governors and accept the money, a move considered a possibility among political observers given his moderate tendencies. His rationale is four-fold: audits show Medicaid is too "broken" to expand right now; the potential long-term costs can't be determined; state government didn't do enough to prepare under Gov. Bev Perdue; and federal matching funds aren't guaranteed given the political uncertainty in Washington
TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House and Senate convene at 2 p.m. Earlier in the day, House committees will consider a controversial Medicaid expansion bill, measures emphasizing digital learning and legislation about where to locate the Interstate 540 loop around Raleigh. Gov. Pat McCrory's environmental chief, John Skvarla, will appear before a Senate committee.
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WILL THE HOUSE FLIP-FLOP ON A STATE EXCHANGE? The state House, under Speaker Thom Tillis, passed a bill in May 2011 to "preserve state‑based authority to regulate the North Carolina Health insurance market and to prevent federal encroachment on state authority by establishing the North Carolina Benefit Exchange." But now it is considering a Senate bill to block a state exchange — the one now supported by McCrory. Will the House flip?
ANOTHER QUESTION: Will McCrory accept the invite: UNC-Chapel Hill faculty leaders have issued an invitation to Gov. Pat McCrory for a friendly campus visit and perhaps a good old-fashioned intellectual debate. His office won't say whether he will accept or even consider the invitation.
HOW G.K. BUTTERFIELD GETS TO GREET THE PRESIDENT TONIGHT: The Washington Post has a great article pulling back the curtain on what it takes to get five seconds with the president on the night of the State of the Union. From the story: For the State of the Union squatters, the wait can be seven hours or more. You read the newspaper. You sign letters to constituents. You grumble about the rookies who think that — on this night, in this place — you can save a seat with a little paper sign instead of a bona fide, duly elected representative’s rear end. The payoff for all of that lasts about five seconds. But oh, those are five good seconds. There’s you, on national TV. And the leader of the free world seems to be laughing at your shared, private joke. “I said, ‘Don’t forget us in North Carolina!’ . . . And he would say, ‘How could I?’ ” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), asked what he actually says to President Obama when the two of them shake hands. “And we would erupt in laughter.”"
NATIONAL REPUBLICANS BEGIN TO TARGET HAGAN: The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a memo that took aim at U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's Democratic seat. As reported by BuzzFeed, the memo from Chairman Jerry Moran says: "The reality is while President Obama and his team burns the political capital … he is lighting an inferno under the electoral prospects for a number Democratic Senate candidates in 2014. … As the President and Democratic leaders in Congress double-down on their demands for higher taxes to finance even more out-of-control spending Republicans welcome and look forward to that debate in states like Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alaska, and many others."
Furthermore, the memo specifically mentions the military in North Carolina: "Military families and those who rely on the defense industry in states like North Carolina and Virginia should ask their Democratic Senators why they're focused on raising taxes for more wasteful spending instead of coming up with a plan to stop the President's sequester plan and protect their jobs."
N.C. lawmakers SOTU guest list: Speaking of the military and Hagan, her guest for Tuesday's State of the Union address is Terry Marquez, the mother U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Marquez, who was killed in action in October in Afghanistan. Hagan previously honored Marquez's sacrifice on the Senate floor in December. He died from small arms fire gunshots while on foot patrol. He was 25. His mother expressed an interest in seeing the speech from the gallery above the House floor.
U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, is hosting new Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown as his guest. She is the first African-American woman to hold the post. “I look forward to hosting Chief Deck-Brown at the State of the Union on Tuesday night and discussing how Congress can help address juvenile crime and support local police and first responders,” Rep. Price said.
PERSONNEL FILE: Doug Heron is rejoining Williams Mullen as a partner in the state government lobbying practice. He previously led Duke University and Duke Medicine's government affairs shop for more than a decade. “We are excited to have Doug back on our team,” said Charles Neely, a Williams Mullen partner. “He is a highly regarded lobbyist with an extensive background and experience that will be valuable to our clients.”