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@NCCapitol

Ellmers changes mind on pay

Posted October 4, 2013

— After an avalanche of punishing feedback on social and mainstream media, 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said Friday that she will request that her paycheck be withheld until the federal shutdown is resolved.

The Dunn Republican sparked controversy when she told media outlets she planned to accept her congressional paycheck, despite having voted for the shutdown that has left thousands of federal workers without paychecks in Ellmers' own district.

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On CNN Friday morning, Ellmers elaborated on her earlier comments, saying she needs her paycheck to meet her financial obligations.

Ellmers' husband is a surgeon, but according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.org, a website run by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, she's among the least wealthy members of Congress, with a negative average net worth over the past three years.

Nonetheless, Ellmers' Facebook page blew up Friday morning with thousands of angry comments about her decision. 

Greg Garcia wrote, "Since you're refusing to defer your paycheck, or give it to charity, can me and about 7,000 coworkers hit you up for a loan?"

"How is it that the wife of a Dr. 'needs' her paycheck, but your constituents don't? Get over yourself," commented L.A. Oldham.  

Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, Ellmers' office issued a statement in which, after blaming the Obama administration and congressional Democrats for the shutdown, she changed her position:

"I believe these issues will be resolved before November 1st. However, in the unfortunate event that they do not come to the table, I will stand with all federal workers and have my paycheck withheld," the statement said.

"Today I sent a letter to the House Chief Administrative Officer, asking that my paycheck be withheld while the government is shutdown." 

Money Few NC members of Congress take pay during shutdown

Ellmers' fellow Republican, 6th District Congressman Howard Coble, still plans to accept his paycheck.

Coble "does not participate in the congressional pension program. So, for 29 years, taxpayers have not been contributing to his retirement fund," said Coble aide Ed McDonald.  

Among the rest of the state's congressional delegation, Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and Reps. David Price, Patrick McHenry and Robert Pittenger all say they'll donate their pay during the shutdown to charity. None immediately identified which charity the money would go to.

Burr, McHenry and Pittenger are Republicans, while Hagan and Price are Democrats.

Republican Reps. George Holding, Mark Meadows, Virginia Foxx and Richard Hudson and Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre say they've requested that their paychecks be withheld.

Any member of Congress who defers payment will be eligible to obtain back pay once the new budget is passed and the shutdown is over.

Democratic Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Mel Watt and Republican Rep. Walter Jones didn't respond to inquiries about their plans.

177 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • liskm Oct 10, 7:27 a.m.

    Perhaps "needs her check" due to her surgeon hubby not receiving his Medicaid payments, thanks to the miserable failure of that system in NC? Poetic justice...

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Oct 8, 10:29 a.m.

    Ellmers is a Tea Party candidate, and shares responsibility with other Republicans in the House of Representatives, who have shutdown our government and taken us all hostage, attempting to bully us and our Democratic system.

    I urge everyone to take some time today to read articles about how poor and working class Americans have already been affected by these extremists.

    One article I read yesterday estimates that over 1,000,000 jobs have already been lost to out economy because of the shutdown - not including workers who have furloughed. (Add that to the additional jobs to be lost in coming days, and add that to the millions of jobs lost under the Bush administration!)

    Read also about the sickening trick played by Republican strategists, who deliberately edited a conversation between Harry Reid and Chuck Shumer to create the false impression that Reid didn't care about cancer victims directly affected by the Republican shutdown. Sickening.

    Never vote Republican again!

  • blueridgepics Oct 8, 8:13 a.m.

    There is NO REASON to negotiate the government paying its' bills.

    Do your job, Congressmen!

    THE CURRENT INSURANCE SYSTEM IS A SCAM ON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. They take away your hard earned income at every turn. The insurance premiums are so high and then you cannot afford the co-payments, deductibles and prescriptions and they only pay 80% for the expensive services. PEOPLE WILL LIKE THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT once they enroll and can finally afford to go to the doctor when they are sick.

    It is way past time for Americans to wake up.

    Vote the Tea Party obstructionist nuts and GOP corporate puppets out of office.

    Register to vote now (today) and help your family members to register. Vote in EVERY election. When you do not show up to vote, the Republicans have already won. This government "for the people" has been hijacked but we can take it back.

    VOTE THE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET and government will work for YOU not big corporations and outside interests.

    Buy American Pro

  • avery2 Oct 7, 5:27 p.m.

    How on earth did these people get elected? What happened to dumb down the Republican Party to this cretinous level? Did it start with Lee Atwater's race-baiting southern strategy? The Koch Brothers' bid to turn the USA into a Saudi-style oligarchy? Whatever the cause(s), it's a crying shame. The collapse of a credible GOP puts our Republic in serious jeopardy. The only good thing I can say is this - I'm grateful my dear, staunch Tennessee Republican grandmother went to her reward long before today's Tea Party emerged from our collective unconscious, like some slimy Lovecraftian obscenity, to pervert and destroy every value the GOP once stood for.

  • Smilester Oct 7, 1:56 p.m.

    The last budget battle like this last for 28 days. Since she pocketed her check for this month my guess is that she plans on being paid again next month. If she wants to give up her pay for October i will give her a slow clap. Otherwise this is just grandstanding by a politician who is betting heavy that this crisis she helped cause is over by her next payday.

  • wth50beau Oct 7, 12:41 p.m.

    Actually the weather centers are working though not being paid for it. The center in Oregon posted their daily weather memo online and were clever enough to arrange the first letter of each line to read vertically, "please pay us". The legislators are truly the only villans here and they rank with the lowest scum on earth. About one step away from Assad, if they could gas us they probably would, that's the level of respect they have for the citizen's who put them in office. it galls me that they have a better private health plan and retirement plan than any other Federal or State worker. They are also entitled to vote themselves raises. There should be term limits and the current bunch should all be voted out of office for being childish and spoiled.

  • Sally1023 Oct 7, 12:00 p.m.

    SO if all the people who are federal employees can NOT work because of Senor Cruz and the Cirque du T-party but will still receive their back pay, why are they not working? I'm sitting in my house... the rain is driving down, the wind is blowing hard and the federal employees who track storms and warn and protect us are where? At home! Knowing the circus of a US House will pay them for not doing the jobs they are trained for and need to do. But I can rest easy knowing the WWII memorial is open. This no way to run a business, an organization or a government! Vote the bums out in 2014!

  • HeadsUp Oct 7, 11:22 a.m.

    I don't trust my money to any politician who can't manage his or her own. She's gotta go.

  • Sally1023 Oct 7, 10:46 a.m.

    She should not be paid! None of them or their staff should be paid. Exactly what is she and her staff doing except shutting down governemnt in a district where many people at Fort Bragg work or at least did work. Try and get in touch with her...I have called her Washington office at least 20 times and no one answeres and her mail box is ALWAYS full. She is part of the problem, no ideas of her own, follows the other t-party "leaders" and helps push the counrty down a cliff. Hope she doesn't mess up that pretty Doncaster suit as she pushes us down cause goodness knows we wouldn't want a hair out of place as the poor people in her district and in the US wonder how we will pay our bills. She probably pays more in makeup and hair coloring apts. a month than most people in her district pay for food in a month.

  • teleman60 Oct 7, 8:31 a.m.

    Her displays last week on live TV just show how unqualified she is.

    Nearly a million innocent people lose their pay over a STUNT and all the tea party members don't even understand WHAT THEY DID?!?

    That the parks ranger closed the park BECAUSE THEY SHUT DOWN THE GOVT! People won't pay their mortgages BECAUSE THEY SHUT DOWN THE GOVT!

    She acts like a spoiled teenager "I need my pay" - well so does EVERY AMERICAN INCLUDING THE GOVT WORKERS YOU DEMONIZE!

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