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Cooper to review Republicans' budget proposal this week

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the budget will include a number of his priority items, but he was unable to sell Republicans on Medicaid expansion.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans have told Gov. Roy Cooper they'll release a state budget to him Monday for review, but that budget won't include Medicaid expansion. 

In a statement last week, Cooper said the budget will "have a number of priorities that were proposed in his budget and discussed in negotiations." Medicaid expansion was one of Cooper's priorities but there wasn't enough Republican support for it to get through the General Assembly as part of the bill. 

House Speaker Tim Moore had already said his caucus wouldn't support expansion, even as Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger was ready to accept it, given the right situation. Cooper has sought wholesale expansion of Medicaid since taking office in 2017. 

After reviewing the budget, Cooper will either sign or veto the bill. North Carolina hasn't had a full budget since the 2018-19 fiscal year after Cooper vetoed GOP-backed proposals. 

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Unlike previous negotiations, Cooper is said to be keeping his options open despite losing Medicaid expansion. Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, said Cooper's willingness to sign the measure reflects the seriousness of the negotiations since Republicans submitted their first proposal to Cooper six weeks ago. 

"No one has left mad. No one has left upset," Saine told the Associated Press. "No one has gotten everything they wanted. It looks to me that, because of that, he is going to seriously consider signing the budget."

Should Cooper veto the bill, Republicans would only need three House Democrats and two Senate Democrats to have enough votes for an override. 

The Associated Press and WRAL contributed to this report

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