Congresswoman Renee Ellmers will give up paycheck - after Nov 1
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- After initially saying she would not give up her paycheck during the federal government shutdown, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers reversed course Friday and said she will have her pay withheld if the shutdown goes past November 1.
Many lawmakers have announced they will decline their salaries while thousands of federal workers have been furloughed, and are not being paid. The average congressional salary is $3,300 a week, which comes to $174,000 a year. Despite the government shutdown, those checks continue.
When ABC11 asked Ellmers earlier this week if she'd take her paycheck, she said she would.
"The thing is I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line and I understand that maybe there are members who are deferring their paychecks and that's admirable," said Ellmers. "I'm not in that position."
The shutdown began when Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to pass a spending bill without any attachments that would defund or delay Obamacare - as Democrats in the Senate demand.
In a statement sent out by her office Friday, Ellmers blamed the shutdown on Democrats for refusing to negotiate over the Affordable Care Act.
"I have been fighting against this shutdown every day and will continue to work to ensure that President Obama and Senator Reid come to the negotiating table and work with us to provide a reasonable solution to this that ensures we act responsibly for all Americans,"
Ellmers said she's confident the shutdown will end before November. But if it does not, she will decline her pay.
"I will stand with all federal workers and have my paycheck withheld," she said.
In response to Ellmers' change of heart, the North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement.
"We appreciate the fact that Rep. Ellmers is living paycheck to paycheck, like so many hardworking North Carolinians, making it all the more unfortunate that she refuses to earn her paycheck and work toward a commonsense solution to end this self-inflicted crisis," Micah Beasley, a spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party said. "But what North Carolina really needs are elected officials who won't fall asleep at the wheel as the economy tumbles off a cliff due to this Tea Party shutdown."
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