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Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Defense Department reviewing which civilian employees are covered by new law

Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn, has been accusing President Barack Obama this week of ignoring a new law that guarantees military pay despite the shutdown.

About 7,000 civilian workers at Fort Bragg, in Ellmers’ district, reportedly have been furloughed.

Congress passed the Pay Our Military Act on Monday, and the president signed it into law. The measure was meant to make sure that soldiers would be paid without interruption.

“This was signed into law by President Obama and has been in effect since Monday, yet the president is refusing to enforce it. Therefore, these Fort Bragg furloughs should not be occurring,” Ellmers said in a statement. “Fort Bragg employees across my district are suffering because the president wants to inflict pain and play political games with people’s lives.”

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.

Some North Carolina lawmakers defer pay, Renee Ellmers refuses

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

As some North Carolina congressional lawmakers defer pay during the shutdown, GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers is refusing to do so -- and her remarks are drawing the attention of an advocacy group.

"The thing of it is, I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line," Ellmers told WTVD, the Raleigh ABC station, Wednesday.

More than 70 congressional lawmakers are voluntarily not taking a salary during the partial government shutdown. Democrat David Price of Chapel Hill is donating his check to charity and Republican Robert Pittenger is returning it to the U.S. Treasury. Republicans George Holding, Virginia Foxx and Mark Meadows are not accepting their pay.

Morning Memo: Harris stakes his ground; GOP lawmaker presses McCrory

HARRIS DECLARES HE'S THE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE IN THE RACE: The Rev. Mark Harris, a leading social conservative, entered the North Carolina Senate race Wednesday, setting up a potential insider/outsider GOP primary showdown next May with House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Harris, the outgoing president of the state Baptist Convention, said he would campaign as a staunch advocate for lowering taxes, reducing government, ending Obamacare and protecting gun rights, that he would back measures that he believes would improve “traditional moral values.” Read more here.

GOP SENATOR SAYS McCRORY ADMINISTRATION IS BREAKING THE LAW: A high-ranking Republican state senator said Wednesday that Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is flouting the law. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, complained that McCrory hasn’t named an independent Unemployment Review Board to review decisions on unemployment benefits made by the state Division of Employment Security. Rucho’s remarks came during a legislative committee meeting where lawmakers were questioning Dale Folwell, the agency’s head. Read more here.

***Read more on the Harris announcement and a North Carolina political roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Hundreds furloughed; U.S. Senate candidates make moves

HUNDREDS OF STATE WORKERS FURLOUGHED: The federal government shutdown caused the furlough of hundreds of state government workers whose jobs are fully or partially federally funded Tuesday, and state officials said several thousand more jobs could be be affected.

The state Department of Health and Human Services told 337 employees not to show up for work Wednesday morning. Officials said as many 4,500 DHHS workers could be furloughed or see their hours reduced. There was also a smaller furlough in the Department of Transportation, and a small group of workers at the state Labor Department saw their hours slashed in half.

#NCSEN DAY: The Republican challengers in the U.S. Senate race are all making moves this week to position themselves. Charlotte Pastor Mark Harris enters the race today, Thom Tillis is hiring staff and Greg Brannon is touting fundraising numbers.

***Read all the U.S. Senate race news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Hagan gets opponent; Records show deeper DHHS troubles

KAY HAGAN GETS A FEISTY CHALLENGER: All the attention is focused on the Republicans vying to replace Democrat Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate. But Hagan, too, will face a primary challenger. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Fred Westphal, a retired educator from outside Fayetteville, plans to make a bid. And he’s mighty sure of his chances. "She doesn’t have a chance against me," Westphal, 76, told The Fayetteville Observer. "She won’t get the party nomination."

INTERNAL EMAILS SHED MORE LIGHT ON DHHS TROUBLES: The state agency overseeing the new computer system that sends money to health professionals treating poor patients downplayed problems with the software even as complaints rolled in to Gov. Pat McCrory’s office from doctors, dentists and medical equipment companies.

Correspondence obtained by The News & Observer from McCrory’s office show that complaints were flowing in from frustrated health care providers, with some appealing directly to his chief of staff and his lawyer, by the end of July. Those complaints were passed on to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the system. On Aug. 5, DHHS sent out the news release "NCTracks is on Track."

***Read more from the DHHS records and get a full political news roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Ellmers on Fox criticizing Obamacare, talking up GOP alternatives

Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn was on Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom" this morning talking about a Republican alternative to Obamcare. She was joined by her colleague Congressman Brad Wenstrup.

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.

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