Politics & Government

N.C. unlikely to join health care law challenge

RALEIGH, N.C. — An aggressive campaign by Republicans and their allies to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a bill that would have the Tar Heel state join the legal challenge to the federal health care law appears to have fallen short of its goal.

The battle, perhaps North Carolina's first full-fledged veto fight, has been marked by pressure from the state Republican Party, robocalls from conservative outfits, lobbying by business groups and private meetings with lawmakers in the Executive Mansion.

But the indications are that Republican legislative leaders may have failed to round up enough conservative Democrats to override a veto by the Democratic governor.

After meeting with Perdue, a group of conservative Democrats plan to vote with Perdue to uphold the veto, state Rep. Jim Crawford of Oxford said. Crawford is one of two conservative Democrats who originally joined with House Republicans to pass the bill challenging the federal health care law.

"There are not but five or six of us who would consider it and we aren't," Crawford said. "Maybe this will send a message to these folks [House Republicans] that they need to start passing some reasonable bills that everyone can agree on."

The Republican-controlled legislature in February voted to make North Carolina the 27th state to challenge the constitutionality of the federal health care overhaul passed last year by the Democratic Congress at the urging of President Barack Obama.

Although Perdue opposed the state challenge, she initially said it was not worth picking a fight over what was a largely politically symbolic piece of legislation. She shifted her position after state Attorney General Roy Cooper issued an opinion that the bill was unconstitutional and could jeopardize the state's federal Medicaid funding.

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