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Pearce: Could be a costly nap for Holding

Gary Pearce, the veteran Democratic strategist, weights in GOP Rep. George Holding's shut eye in his blog Talking About Politics.

"The government is shut down, so Congressman George Holding got some shuteye. On camera," Pearce said.

"At the moment one of his Republican colleagues declaimed, “It’s about time to do what’s right for the whole country,” the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina was catching a few winks. CSPAN’s camera caught him. Unfortunately for Holding, he was presiding over the House at the time.

"Now, I will not criticize Congressman Holding. I feel his pain. It was the House. It was a Republican congressman speaking. It was 3:36 pm. A lot of us need a mid-afternoon shot of caffeine. Read the entire post here.

Renee Ellmers retreats, says she'll decline her congressional salary

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers said Friday she would decline her $174,000 congressional salary amid the federal government shutdown, reversing course after facing intense pressure.

Ellmers sent a letter to House officials asking for her pay to be withheld, saying in a statement she would “stand with all federal workers.”

Two days earlier, the Dunn lawmaker refused to decline her paycheck like many of her Republican and Democratic colleagues during the shutdown, telling a Raleigh TV station, “I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line.”

The remark generated a firestorm and calls of hypocrisy given that 800,000 federal workers are being furloughed without pay because of the budget impasse in Congress.

Ellmers begin backtracking Friday morning. Read more here.

Ellmers won't give back pay but may defer next month's check

UPDATE: Renee Ellmers reversed course and will decline her salary during shutdown. Read the latest here.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers said she is willing to consider deferring her next congressional pay check but won't give back her October pay like many of her colleagues amid the government shutdown.

Ellmers softened her stance Friday during a CNN interview. The Dunn Republican is drawing fire for saying "I need my paycheck" at a time when hundreds of thousands of federal workers are being furloughed without pay under the partial government shutdown.

Asked about the remark on CNN, Ellmers said her October paycheck was in her bank account when the shutdown took effect, Oct. 1. If it persists, Ellmers said she will have another option in November. "I may do it at that point," she said.

Price says House has votes to end shut down without strings

U.S. Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill says he's frustrated with the federal government shutdown, because vote tallies show there are enough votes in the House of Representatives to end it. At least 20 Republicans have gone on record saying they'd vote for a measure to fund the government with no strings attached. That would be enough votes to pass when combined with votes from Democrats. But so far Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, hasn't arranged to have a vote on a spending bill without the condition of a delay of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Conservative group runs web ads targeting Hagan on shutdown

A conservative organization is upping the ante on U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as it attempts to pressure her to defund the federal health care law.

Heritage Action for America, the advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation, is airing 15-second online video advertisements featuring an ominously voiced announcer asking: "Why won't Kay Hagan stop the shutdown and defund Obamacare?"

Morning Memo: Rove to raise money for Tillis; Harris plans statewide tour

GOP strategist Karl Rove will headline a series of fundraising events for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in mid-November, an aide to the former Bush administration official confirmed to Dome. The details are still being finalized but Rove and Tillis are likely to hit events across the state, Tillis allies said.

Next week, Tillis will attend a reception hosted by Rove’s political action committee, Crossroads GPS, which spent big money in the 2012 election. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan used Rove as a foil in one of her recent fundraising pitches -- showing Rove’s close link to Tillis may help both sides.

As Tillis focuses on raising money his latest rival Mark Harris begins a high-flying announcement tour for next week. Read about it and more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Brad Miller: Debt default consequences 'far worse than Congress knows'

Former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, says "he consequences of default on the national debt may be far worse than Congress knows. In fact, it’s hard to tell what Congress knows."

In an op-ed for Politico, Miller continues: "Congress must know that a default will most likely result in a credit downgrade and increase the interest rate on government borrowing, a needless increase in the cost of America’s debt service by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade or two. But there is so much more that could go wrong in a dimly understood and still fragile financial system." Read the whole piece here.

David Price: The End of Appropriations?

In an opinion piece written for Politico, senior budget writer Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill asks whether the budget process works any more.

As Congress refocuses its attention on the looming fiscal battles, with both sides steeling for a fight over the debt limit and a potential government shutdown, a development with greater implications for our nation’s future is unfolding with far less notice. The appropriations process — that hallmark of Congress’s constitutional authority and wellspring of our power to conduct oversight and set national priorities — is on life support and in danger of total collapse.

With just four legislative days left before the end of the fiscal year, not one of the 12 funding bills required to keep the government open has been enacted into law. House Republicans have struggled to pass even a continuing resolution to keep the government running for a few weeks while appeasing their red-meat conservatives.

McIntyre one of two Democrats voting to defund Obamacare

North Carolina U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre was one of only two Democrats who joined House Republicans in voting to defund Obamacare on Friday.

Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah was the other.

Their votes allowed Republican leaders to declare it a bipartisan effort. OK….

Meanwhile, North Carolina Republicans Renee Ellmers, Robert Pittenger and Robert McHenry – despite earlier objections – went along with the GOP strategy to risk shutting down the federal government in a stalemate with the Senate.

McIntyre is once again in what will be an expensive and close battle against challenger David Rouzer, a former Republican state senator whom he defeated last time around.

Brunstetter might run for U.S. Senate

State Sen. Pete Brunstetter is considering joining the Republican fray to win his party’s nomination to run Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan next year.

Brunstetter told The Associated Press that Senate leader Phil Berger – who is also considering running – asked him to think about it.

Brunstetter, 57, said he wouldn’t compete against Berger. A spokesman for Berger said the Senate leader hadn’t decided yet, but if he doesn’t run he will be “supportive” of Brunstetter.

There are four declared candidates in the GOP primary, including House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Brunstetter is a four-term senator from Winston-Salem, who works as a corporate attorney.

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