Two of North Carolina’s members of Congress split Saturday over the state’s response to the U.S. Justice Department’s deadline to essentially nullify House Bill 2.
Federal officials told Gov. Pat McCrory that HB2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act as well as Title IX, which governs education funding. They gave the state until Monday to nullify the law.
Before the start of Saturday’s Republican state convention, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr told a reporter that N.C. lawmakers should strongly consider responding to the deadline. Failure to comply could jeopardize billions of dollars in federal funding for education, roads and housing.
Asked if lawmakers should respond to the DOJ, Burr said, “Absolutely.”
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“There’s over $1 billion in education dollars there so I hope the General Assembly will strongly consider what their next step is to understand the financial implications,” Burr said.
“When there’s a threat by the federal government over funding, it’s something that the General Assembly needs to take seriously.”
House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters Thursday that legislators won’t meet the Monday deadline to declare that House Bill 2 will not be enforced.
But U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows appeared ready to defy the deadline.
“Now we have the federal government about to be a bully,” he told delegates. “The federal government has no business being a bully.”
Meadows reminded delegates that it was his use of an arcane parliamentary maneuver that began the effort that toppled Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
“When there are bullies among us, whether they’re in the other party or our party, the grassroots stand up and say enough is enough,” he said.
McCrory made no mention of HB2 in his remarks to the convention. His only allusion to it was his description of the North Carolina in which he grew up.
“There was,” he said, “no confusion about restrooms.”
McCrory wasn’t available to answer questions about the DOJ deadline. He avoided a gaggle of reporters as he left the convention hall by a back door and hurried into a waiting vehicle.