Republican Rep: But I Need My Paycheck

With hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed and missing out on their pay, some members of Congress have graciously agreed to forego their own salaries during the government shutdown, or donate the money to charity. But not one North Carolina legislator:

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) told a local television station that she would not be deferring her pay during the government shutdown, as some other members have done.

“I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line,” Ellmers told WTVD in Raleigh, N.C. “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.”

Gee, did you consider that maybe all those federal employees you’ve forced to go without a paycheck aren’t in that position either? That maybe a park ranger making $45,000 a year can afford to miss paychecks a lot less than a congresswoman making $180,000 with a surgeon husband who probably makes at least that much too? Or are they just the rabble who don’t matter?

34 comments on this post.
  1. Reginald Selkirk:

    This is a messy issue. Yes, it’s terrible that government employees are being furloughed, and before passing judgment I would like to hear Rep Ellmers’ opinion on whether the shutdown is “good” or “necessary.”
    On the other hand, a lot of legislators are rich enough that they can do without those paychecks. We do not want a government where that is an essential qualification.

  2. Reginald Selkirk:

    I checked the link.

    Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield also told WTVD that he wouldn’t be deferring his pay. “I don’t think there should be a shutdown,” he said. “I didn’t create the shutdown.”

    I don’t have a problem with that. Unfortunately that brief TPM article did not bother reporting Ellmers’ view on the shutdown. Not a lot of substance there, Ed.

  3. unbound:

    She has already changed her decision due to the outrage. http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/10/04/3253101/republican-renee-ellmers-reverses.html

  4. Reginald Selkirk:

    Renee Ellmers reverses course, will decline her paycheck for duration of shutdown

    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.”

    She makes it sound like federal workers are voluntarily foregoing their pay.
    What TPM didn’t bother to investigate:

    Along with House Republicans, Ellmers voted for a federal spending bill linked to defunding the new health care law, a move that created a stalemate with the Democratic-majority Senate.
    Some House Republicans are now saying they want to pass a bill to fund government without tying it to the health care law. But in the CNN interview, Ellmers avoided directly answering a question of whether she supported the move.

  5. snoeman:

    One of the unfortunate things I’ve observed is commentary from a fair number of people who appear utterly unconcerned about the effects of the shutdown on the lives of many if not most government employees. To some of those people, it seems as if someone works for the government, they are automatically cast into the category of “The Other”. They’re sucking at the teat of the government at the expense of hard-working taxpayers, and aren’t real people, with real kids, real mortgages, etc.

  6. Reginald Selkirk:

    GOP Congressman Offers To Bake Obama Cookies If He Agrees To Change Obamacare
    See, I’m a caring and empathic person. If you deny the possibility of affordable health care to millions of Americans, I’ll bake you some cookies.

  7. Alverant:

    Her husband makes over $300k a year which puts them in the half million + bracket. If you still NEED a paycheck after that you haven’t even looked at your expenses yet. If the “first world problems” meme hadn’t already died, she’d be part of it.

  8. colnago80:

    Rethuglicans think that people that work for the government are scum and drones, which has been the case since Heathie’s hero Ronnie the Rat was president.

  9. rory:

    You know, SLC, leaving aside the moral repugnancy of some of your positions, and the stupidity of others, you’d still be an obnoxious prat for the way you insist on name-dropping people on every thread. News flash: none of the cliches or tropes you point out regarding other posters on this board stand out nearly as much as your constant, tiresome prick behavior. Grow the fuck up.

  10. DaveL:

    it seems as if someone works for the government, they are automatically cast into the category of “The Other”

    It comes easily, when you’ve had that much practice. How many different reasons have we seen offered by Republicans as to why some person or other should be considered a subhuman who deserves whatever misfortune they get?

    Because they’re unemployed?
    Because they’re uneducated?
    Because they’re educated in the wrong field?
    Because they’re educated in the right field but took on too much debt to become so?
    Because they belong to a union?
    Because they don’t belong to a union?
    Because they weren’t born in the U.S.?
    Because they were born poor?
    Because they were born female?
    Because they were born gay?
    Because they had children out of wedlock?
    Because they used contraception to avoid having children out of wedlock?

    Honestly, I can’t keep track of all the excuses.

  11. democommie:

    IF they announced that they would forego their paychecks, prior to the shitstorm that was generated by their total hyprocrisy in stopping federal workers paychecks while still getting their own? That might be “gracious” (although for most, it would be a politically calculated move).; if they waited till AFTER the shitstorm? They’re not “gracious”, they’re craven.

    “News flash: none of the cliches or tropes you point out regarding other posters on this board stand out nearly as much as your constant, tiresome prick behavior.”

    You’re a fan of Lancifer”s AGW denial idiocy and Don Williams conspiracy mongering? I only ask because you’re using the word, “none”.

    Mr. Michael Heath, since colnago80 mentions him, is perfectly capable of handling the bons mal that are dished up by anyone who argues with him. As for others, they are just as ugly (yes, me too) when it suits them. There are oodles of blogs with commenting policies that prohibit foul language, insults and invective–this blog, to date, is not one of those.

  12. unbound:

    @snoeman – It isn’t just the Republican shutdown, it is the Republican way in general…as well as the religious way, and I’m sure a number of other groups use the tactic fairly often.

    The process is all about an “other”, whether you name them or not. You don’t clarify who or what the “other” is because that would put a face to “enemy”, and some of your followers will realize that they belong to the “other”s. It’s a generic evil (like the devil) that you can’t really identify except by vague characteristics that apply to pretty much anyone if you spin it the right way, or identify after the fact as an effect of the “other”.

    A large number of Republicans would be very surprised to find out that they are actually in the category of the “other”. They are working poor who assumes that the “other” must be those that are just flat lazy without realizing they are one of the 47%. They are the middle class who assumes that the “other” must be those who are just not really working very hard without realizing that success at the top has very little to do with work and a whole lot to do with giving up the morals that the middle class hold dear, but claim hollowly that you didn’t get to the top because you didn’t work hard enough…so the middle class are considered the lazy by the rhetoric that the politicians spout.

    It’s just a method that the very, very rich (the masters as George Carlin liked to call them) use to keep the masses in control. The subtle message that you are just fine, and that it must be someone else’s fault.

  13. d.c.wilson:

    Reginald Selkirk@#6:

    Holy shit! They’re actually saying, “Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies.”!

  14. aaronbaker:

    They’re just rabble and don’t matter.

  15. rory:

    Democommie, if you disagree with my opinion, that’s perfectly fine. I can honestly say I’ve not noticed Lancifer one way or the other; I thought Don had been banned, but I could be mistaken. My interest is not so much to defend Michael Heath (or anyone else), but rather to register my personal distaste for a commenter whose idea of contribution is to shit on every thread with a reference to something that someone else has said based on the flimsiest of tangents. I don’t believe anything I said could be construed as favoring a ban or other administrative action against people engaging in this kind of behavior.

  16. snoeman:

    @ unbound: Yeah. I suppose what I find distressing to contemplate is, how many of them actually mean it?

    Some may rail on about lazy government workers in the abstract, but when faced with a neighbor with a couple of kids and a mortgage, that’s harder to do. A face to the “enemy”, as you put it. However, are there others who would still say, “serves them right!”? It’s really not pleasant to consider that much absence of empathy.

  17. Modusoperandi:

    LOOK UNLIKE THOSE PARASITES ON CAPITAL HILL SHE EARNED HER PAY! AND BY ENSURING THAT OTHERS WHO HAVENT EARNED THEIR PAY DONT GET PAID SHES PERFORMING A GREAT SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY!
    “I GET MINE, YOU GET NONE”. ITS CALLED SMALL GOVERNMENT FAMILY VALUES CAPITALIST CHRISTIAN FISCAL CONSERVATISM! LOOK IT UP PEOPLE!

  18. Reginald Selkirk:

    Fox’s Stuart Varney on Federal Workers: “I Want to Punish Those People”

  19. Area Man:

    This whole thing is so nauseating. It’s like a bank robber donating a few bucks to charity out of solidarity with his victims. He could, you know, just stop robbing banks, but that would require an admission of responsibility and moral agency on his part.

  20. magistramarla:

    I live in San Antonio, Tx which has the nickname “Military City, USA”.

    We have an incredible number of Federal workers here, including my husband.
    It’s interesting that much of the work that the civilian Federal workers now do is the work that used to be done by active duty military. When the conservatives wanted to “save money” twenty years ago, my hubby’s active duty job was changed to a civilian job. That’s why he left (was forced out of) active duty and continued doing the same job as a civilian. I think that the big business contractors who are pulling the strings of those conservative puppets now covet those jobs, so we’re going to be hearing that “privatizing the work will save the government money”. I’ve watched privatization ruin quite a few things, such as military housing and the MWR. Snowdon is another prime example of what is wrong with privatization. It also ends up costing more, but that isn’t mentioned because pockets are being lined.

    Our local paper has been filled with hateful statements about Federal workers. The conservatives are absolutely livid that “the leeches” are going to be paid for their “vacation” of last week.
    Seriously, without the money that the military folks and their civilian support spend in this city, there are many, many businesses that would not be able to survive. Quite a few Federal workers have publicly stated that they are not going to forget the way that they have been treated by this city. My husband and I are certainly going to get out of here as soon as possible. We want to live in a place (hopefully a blue state) which takes better care of its citizens and appreciates the people who contribute to the local economy.

  21. ImaginesABeach:

    50% of my household income is from spouse’s federal employment. Just so nobody thinks that “maybe” federal employees need their wages, I will come out and say it. My family needs my spouse’s wages.

  22. democommie:

    Rory:

    You’re entitled to your opinion of colnago80. I didn’t think that you were suggesting a ban. If history is a guide, pointing out to colnago80 that his behavior is rude is not going to result in him changing that behavior (nor does it result in me changing mine). Don Williams has been banned but he spewed a lot of shit before Ed Brayton took him off life support and colnago80 was actually more polite to him, by far, than I or most others were.

    Cheers.

  23. Area Man:

    The conservatives are absolutely livid that “the leeches” are going to be paid for their “vacation” of last week.

    Gosh, maybe someone should tell the Republicans to pass a clean CR and make those damn parasites go back to work. They can claim this as a “victory” if it saves them from butthurt.

  24. magistramarla:

    ImaginesABeach @ 21
    I hear ya! 100% of our income is from the hubby’s Federal pay, since I’m now too disabled to drive, let alone be employed. We prepared for this being a tough month, but we certainly aren’t as well-off as those conservatives are claiming. We’ve just had to deal with the expense of moving 1900 miles (for the job) followed by those furlough days. If the pay check is delayed, we’ll be using some money that we saved for repairing a leaky roof that our renters hadn’t told us about while we were gone. I was also planning to use any extra from that for the out-of-pocket costs of getting the MRIs that I need.
    I get really pissed when I hear those congress people claiming that they “need” their pay so much!

  25. magistramarla:

    Area Man @ 23
    Thanks to Chuck Hagel’s announcement, most DOD employees are back at work today. We feel fairly confident that they will be paid eventually, but we’re not sure when the pay checks will arrive.
    My hubby drove to the office today to check and found that most of the workers were there. The general consensus was “since they plan to pay us, we might as well be working.”
    Some leeches, huh?

  26. colnago80:

    Re rory @ #15

    Yes, Donaldo was given the heave ho several weeks ago. As for Sir Lancelot, he doesn’t comment here very often and except for his anti-climate change nonsense isn’t a bad fellow.

    And, by the way, Michael Heath is perfectly capable of taking care of business.

  27. jnorris:

    Holy shit! They’re actually saying, “Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies.”!

    They paint that on old white vans and drive slowly around the Capital building.

  28. ImaginesABeach:

    magistramarla – my spouse was called back today also (another DOD employee). Unfortunately, in the short term, we are actually worse off. If he were still off work, he would be eligible to collect unemployment starting this week, and then when (if) they received payment for the time off, we would have to pay back the unemployment. Because he is working, he cannot collect unemployment and there will be no income until the shutdown is over.

  29. freehand:

    magistramarla, everything I’ve seen privatized in the last 20 years has become non-transparent, more expensive, less effective, and frequently corrupt.

    This situation is the pits. I cannot see anything good come of it, and it could be very bad. There was a time when I would have pulled my retirement out of mutual fund stocks and put it into bonds, but I’m not sure that even that is very safe anymore. I’d pay off the house and second car, but there would be a huge tax penalty for pulling out early.

    I’m still working, but if the economy gets bad enough even my company might not make it. If I were younger, maybe I’d see this as an adventure. The young generation has better values than my peers, and they’re learning from all of this, but in the meanwhile we’re working as fast as possible to leave the kids a trash dump as an inheritance. These lunatics should worry about leaving too many folks with nothing to lose.

  30. Michael Heath:

    To be clear, Rep. Ellmers hypocrisy on this issue is self-evident based on her 10/1 support of the shutdown:

    Senate Democrats and President Obama refused to come to the table to negotiate our differences and devise a solution as to how we can best perform our responsibilities as stewards of taxpayer dollars. I was elected to Congress to serve the people and stand up to the reckless spending that has strangled our economy and our potential – and in particular, the devastating impact that Obamacare will have on our nation. Here in the House, we passed numerous bills over the past weeks and months to avoid this shutdown. But absent any meaningful reforms or solutions, Democrats have remained intent on wasting money with no regard to our debt and obligations.

    Cite: http://ellmers.house.gov/latest-news/ellmers-statement-on-government-shutdown1/

  31. Modusoperandi:

    freehand “These lunatics should worry about leaving too many folks with nothing to lose.”
    See? This shows that they love this country that much. “‘Freedom’ is just another word for ‘nothing left to lose’”. That’s straight out of The Constitution!

  32. gerryl:

    Before the shutdown, when the talking heads kept saying that “non-essential personnel” would be sent home, I naturally assumed that Congress would be closed down and all the Congress Critters would be locked out. I mean, they’ve demonstrated just how non-essential they are by getting us into this situation.

  33. Modusoperandi:

    gerryl, they are essential. What other group could make this great of a mess? None! It’s the kind of thing that should give you pride in America.

  34. democommie:

    Further to Modusoperandi @ 33:

    “Fucking up the country, it’s JOB ONE!”.

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