The budget agreement in Washington provides the latest contrast between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her five Republican challengers.
Hagan announced her support for the spending parameters, insulating her stance by citing a letter from a military commander requesting her vote.
The latest from Washington: The budget deal the Senate is likely to approve Wednesday will mean an easing of the automatic spending cuts, or sequester, but it’s also exposing a deep political rift among Republicans.
The deal passed a crucial test Tuesday, when the Senate agreed 67-33 to limit debate. Twelve Republicans – a surprisingly big number – joined 53 Democrats and two independents to back the cutoff. Fifty-one votes will be needed for final passage. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina opposes the agreement.
The deal will increase discretionary spending, or items Congress and the White House can largely control, above the sequester amount by about $63 billion over the next two fiscal years. It also raises $85 billion in new revenue, largely through increases in fees, federal employees’ retirement contributions and other strategies, over 10 years. ( Read more here.)
House Speaker Thom Tillis remains unconvinced by the deal. Via Twitter -- “@thomtillis: Sen. Hagan's vote adds a trillion in spending and debt. This is a bad deal for NC and a bad deal for America.” Other GOPers had previously announced their opposition, and Rev. Mark Harris added his voice in a statement Wednesday.
“This proposal undoes modest spending reforms and now takes us two steps back, by digging us deeper into debt. While some supporters of this plan are celebrating more spending now in exchange for minor changes that may possibly reduce spending later, it appears this budget deal is merely kicking the can down the road, and we've seen first hand what that approach brings North Carolinians through years of Democrat control,” Harris said in a statement.
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The only detail known: McCrory left the state. The governor's office sent notice that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is in charge during McCrory's absence, under Article III, Section 3, Subsection 2 of the N.C. Constitution. Forest won't know when his brief tenure ends until the governor's office sends a formal notification by email.
Kami Mueller, a Forest spokesman, said nothing is really different about his schedule this week. And the lieutenant governor has held the helm about a half dozen times already this year. "Whenever the governor goes over the state lines, the lt. governor becomes the acting governor," she explains.
The email inviting supporters to the calls says the North Carolina Senate race “will be one of the top three races in the country as identified by the NRSC. It will be one of the best chances of picking up a seat on our way to taking back control of the U.S. Senate.”
"The trend cuts across demographics. Among Hispanics, disapproval of ObamaCare has increased by 11 points in the last three months according to Pew. The president’s approval rating among Hispanics has dropped 23 points—the biggest dive in major subgroups, according to Gallup." Read the full memo here.
“That’s why I am persuaded that the candidates in 2014 who focus on optimism and offer constructive plans to solve national and state problems will have an advantage over those who rely on negative attacks aimed at destroying the plans of their opponents.” Read more here.
"... Across the country, the unemployed will lose from 14 to 47 weeks of insurance when the extension ends. Five other states will join North Carolina in providing fewer than 26 weeks of payments -- the standard in the U.S until this year. What’s happened in North Carolina since July is an indication of what will happen nationwide. The picture is troubling." Read it here.
The state now has 20,122 National Board-certified teachers, accounting for almost 19 percent of the country’s total. Statewide, 21 percent of public-school teachers have this certification, which is considered the highest credential in the teaching profession.
The new figures came out the same day that the N.C. Association of Educators filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court against the General Assembly’s decision this year to phase out tenure for teachers. In addition to eliminating tenure, state legislators also voted to to begin eliminating extra pay for new teachers who receive advanced degrees. Read more here.
The standards, which were adopted in North Carolina in 2010, are supposed to set a clear, consistent blueprint for what students should learn from kindergarten through high school. The idea is to better prepare them for college and careers.
All but five states have adopted Common Core, but it has increasingly come under attack, particularly from conservatives, and some states are now considering dropping the standards.
He also had received complaints that Common Core ceded control of the state’s schools to the federal government. If he thought that were true, though, Cobey said, he would oppose it himself. Read more here.
Terry Gibson, DOT’s chief engineer, said it’s too early to rule out any of the multicolor possibilities on the project route map. Now that these alternatives have been reviewed in planners’ offices, DOT is ready to send workers out into the field to count streams and species – along with homes and businesses – that would be affected by a six-lane toll road. Read more here.