GOP congresswoman has second thoughts on pay

WASHINGTON (AP) — A North Carolina congresswoman who said she needed her paycheck during the government shutdown now says she won’t cash the check until the shutdown ends.

Rep. Renee Elmers said Friday she’s asked the Office of Chief Administrative Officer to have her paycheck withheld as long as the government is shut down. Her decision came two days after she bluntly told a Raleigh, N.C., TV station: “The thing of it is, I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line.”

In a statement on Friday, Elmers said, “I will stand with all federal workers and have my paycheck withheld.”

Dan Weiser, a spokesman for the Office of Chief Administrative Officer, said the Constitution prohibits withholding any pay for members but added that lawmakers can request their paychecks be delayed until the government reopens.

The House plans to vote Saturday on a bill to cover all the lost wages of some 800,000 government workers who were furloughed on Tuesday because Congress hasn’t appropriated money for paying them or operating the agencies where they work. The White House has said President Barack Obama will sign the bill.

Dozens of lawmakers have said they will write a check to the Treasury or donate to charity the proportion of their pay for the time the government is closed. Others have said they’ll keep their pay regardless.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., plans to take his full pay, saying, “I oppose the shutdown, don’t believe in it, and did not cause it.” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told CNN he would continue to take his pay and “spend it and tithe it and give to it charities and do the things that I’ve always done.”

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