- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 19, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative budget writers have met to discuss what it will take to agree soon on the next state spending plan.

Cooper and Republican legislative leaders confirmed Wednesday’s breakfast meeting at the Executive Mansion. Cooper is capitalizing on his expanded leverage now that fellow Democrats can uphold his vetoes if they’re united.

One of Cooper’s top priorities is expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people. Cooper’s office said the governor suggested a two-track negotiation, with one group looking at health care issues and another discussing everything else.

Legislative Republicans largely are opposed to expansion. Senate leader Phil Berger’s spokesman said chamber Republicans are pleased Cooper wants to keep negotiating on other budget provisions. House senior budget-writer Jason Saine said Wednesday’s meeting was encouraging.

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