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NC speaker: Medicaid expansion not in latest budget offer

The latest budget offer that North Carolina Republicans sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn't expand Medicaid broadly as Cooper seeks, but it does sweeten a previous proposal on worker pay raises, a top GOP legislator says.

House Speaker Tim Moore gave few other details Wednesday about the offer that Senate leader Phil Berger and Moore's offices took to Cooper the day before — citing confidentiality so negotiations can remain frank.

The legislative and executive branches are trying to hammer out a two-year government budget Cooper would be willing to sign into law. The alternative would be for lawmakers to approve their own final spending plan and try to override what would likely be a Cooper veto.

Negotiations began in earnest three weeks ago with the first offer.

“We’re either getting to the point of having a compromise with the governor or for simply proceeding with the legislative budget,” Moore told reporters.

Cooper is a longtime advocate of giving Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults through the 2010 federal health care law, but Republicans at the Legislative Building remain divided over the idea. Moore said last week he didn't see support within the House Republican Caucus for such an expansion.

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