GOP Rep Defends Keeping Salary During Shutdown: "I Need My Paycheck"

Though dozens of her colleagues have decided to either forego receiving a paycheck or else donate their salary to charity while the government is shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) is adamant about making sure her $174k/year plus benefits remain undisturbed.

"I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line," Rep. Ellmers told ABC affiliate WTVD. "I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that's admirable. I'm not in that position."

Ellmers, a registered nurse by trade, took office in 2011 after defeating seven-term Democrat Bob Etheridge. Ellmers husband is a general surgeon who runs his own practice.

Speaking with CNN the day before the shutdown was to take effect, Ellmers was asked if it was right for Congress members to continue receiving a paycheck during the shutdown.

"The question I believe is moot," Ellmers responded, "because we are not going to shut down the government."

Update 2:45 p.m.: In response to the firestorm surrounding her controversial paycheck comments, Rep. Renee Ellmers has just released a statement saying she has asked that her paycheck be withheld for the duration of the shutdown.

In her letter to the House Chief Administrative Officer, Ellmers insists she was unaware that Congress was still getting paid during the shutdown — a claim that clearly contradicts her earlier remarks.

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