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(Update: Did I say extortion? Governor says so too — see below.)

Congressional Republicans were ready to shut the federal government down if they didn’t get their way on the budget. So President Obama let them have their way — shutdown averted.

Lesson learned by Republicans leaders in the General Assembly. They announced today they won’t extend unemployment benefits for some 37,000 jobless North Carolinians unless Gov. Perdue gives them their way on the state budget.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis spelled out their surrender terms to the press this morning — a short video is on the Progressive Pulse blog (go to the comments), the full 20:00 presser is on WRAL.

PB & TT didn’t quite put it that way, of course. But the only thing that stands between legislative Republicans and their goal of deep cuts to public programs — including the schools and universities — is a potential Bev Perdue veto.

So here’s the deal: Just in case Perdue does veto their budget and there is no budget signed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year, the Republicans want her to agree now that beginning July 1, state spending would be reduced by 13% — a cut that would remain in place until a budget is signed.

Why would Perdue agree to such a thing? Because the Republicans have tied it to the unemployment benefits extension — in the same bill. Either Perdue caves in to their demands or no benefits for the unemployed.

The bill could be on Perdue’s desk tomorrow, apparently. The Republicans, not ones to miss the chance at a good joke, said their goal is to take the politics out of the budget issue.

But hey, Obama caved. And from what I read, in order to get the Republicans to increase the federal debt ceiling this summer and avert a catastrophic fiscal meltdown, Obama’s already signaled that he’ll cave again to Republican demands for spending cuts.

So you can’t say the N.C. Republicans have no reason to think they’ll succeed.