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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.

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.

Ellmers may face serious primary challenge from right next year

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn may have a serious primary challenge from the right next spring.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, is contemplating a challenge to Ellmers. Duncan spent his career as an executive with Comdisco Inc., a high tech equipment leasing company. Duncan grew up where his father -- a South Carolina native -- was a New York city police detective. He has been active in a number of civic activities including the Upper Room Academy in Raleigh and the Durham Boys and Girls Club.

Ellmers was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party movement and as an outspoken critic of Obamacare. But she has received some criticism from the party's right that she has been too close to House Speaker John Boehner and has been insufficiently aggressive in fighting implementation of Obamacare.

Morning Memo: Bill Maher's screed rips North Carolina GOP

BILL MAHER RIPS NORTH CAROLINA A NEW ONE: Comedian and liberal commenter Bill Maher spent five minutes recapping North Carolina's rightward political shift concluding: "North Carolina is going ape $*!# in a way no other state has."

Maher introduces the clip comparing the state to a third world country "where Democracy itself hangs in the balance." He later blames Art Pope for the circumstances and suggested his guest Jay-Z ought to buy the state. See the clip above.

McCRORY WATCH: Gov. Pat McCrory hasn’t signed any bills in a week and there are 38 of them on his desk. Deadline to sign them is a minute before midnight on Sunday, Aug. 25. He signed a spate of legislation July 29.

***The biggest bill on his desk -- read about it below. Along with more North Carolina political news in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Ellmers: GOP men made mistakes that costed party in 2012

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said the Republican Party -- particularly its men -- made "unnecessary mistakes" that cost the party the presidential election.

Ellmers, a Republican who represents Dunn, argued that her party needed to focus more on President Barack Obama's record, particularly when it comes to appealing to women.

"As Republican women, we know what it takes to care for our families. We are the ones managing the household budgets, fighting for our children's education, and searching for the best healthcare for our loved ones. The policy issues that are affecting our nation affect us on a personal level and mimic the same tough choices we are faced with every day," Ellmers said in a Yahoo News chat Thursday about how the GOP can better appeal to women voters. "Oddly, enough, many of the mistakes were made by the men in our party. And this only fueled the misconception that the GOP does not care about women."

Morning Memo: Emails show Tata's troubles as former Wake education chief

TATA'S TUMULTOUS TENURE AS SCHOOLS CHIEF REVEALED: Newly released email shows that former Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata -- and now state Transportation Secretary -- spent his final month in office surrounded by growing distress and concern from school board members and parents over his handling of the school bus problems and student assignment. More than 3,400 pages of email released this week as part of a public records request by news media organizations, including The News & Observer, show how much the bus fiasco affecting thousands of families was a daily concern during the first month of school. (More on this story below.)

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A bill to limit local governments from requiring inspections of homes in some instances -- a measure that is opposed by environmental groups -- is on the House calendar. The House will also consider legislation to make it a felony for a parent to fail to report a missing child, dubbed Caylee's Law after the Caylee Anthony case, in which the 2-year-old was found dead and her mother didn't report her missing for a month. At 10 a.m., Senate committee will consider (for discussion only) a midwife bill and a measure to put teeth in the state's public records law. On the Senate floor later in the day, the "red route" bill gets a final vote with toll road language attached. Gov. Pat McCrory is making an economic development announcement in Raleigh at 1 p.m.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Click below more more North Carolina political news and analysis. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Ellmers on Club for Growth most unwanted list

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers a liberal? Who knew?

The congresswoman from Dunn, who is serving her second term representing the state's 2nd Congressional District, is on the list of Republicans that the limited government, low-tax group Club for Growth wants out.

The Club for Growth has Ellmers on its PrimaryMyCongressman website, where people are supposed to suggest primary opponents for Republicans elected to Congress scoring below 70 percent on the Club's scorecard. The site criticizes Ellmers for siding with House GOP leadership too often.

Tagging Ellmers as a Republican In Name Only seems to conflict with a recent National Journal assessment, which said she was the 43rd most conservative U.S. House member. The National Journal scored her as more conservative than Republican House colleagues Virginia Foxx, Patrick McHenry, Howard Coble and Walter Jones.

Ellmers easily survived a primary last year on her way to winning a re-election.

Hagan ranks in Senate's ideological middle; Ellmers among most conservative

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan ranks in the ideological middle, according to the latest rankings from the National Journal. The Democrat, who faces re-election in 2014, ranks the 48th most liberal of the 100 senators, or 52 most conservative, depending on how you look at it.

Her Republican counterpart U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is the 23rd most conservative member in the chamber, the nonpartisan national political magazine found. National Journal ranked the lawmakers on 116 votes that showed differences in ideological viewpoint in the 112th Congress.

Among Democrats in the House, Congressman David Price is the most liberal at No. 32, followed by Mel Watt (45), former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (83), G.K. Butterfield (121). On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick was the 32nd most conservative, followed by Reps. Renee Ellmers (43), Virginia Foxx (55), Patrick McHenry (62), Howard Coble (153) and Walter Jones (242).

Sen. Burr voices support for Helms name on post office

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is voicing his support for naming the historic Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh after the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers recently introduced legislation to name it the Jesse Helms Federal Building and United States Courthouse but encountered opposition from some who called it "morally wrong to reward intolerance," a reference to the senator's record.

"Jesse Helms was a transformative figure in our state’s history who placed service to his constituents above all other priorities in his public life," Burr said in a statement issued by his office Thursday. "Whether they agreed with him on political issues or not, North Carolinians had a dedicated advocate in Washington in Jesse Helms, and this bill will help to commemorate his legacy and his service to our state."

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