From her spot on a podium at a recent news conference on Capitol Hill, Representative Renee Ellmers, Republican of North Carolina, looked slightly nervous.
Mrs. Ellmers, 47, a nurse who was elected to Congress in 2010 with zero political experience, had been given the task of helping to sell the bill championed by Speaker John A. Boehner to raise the debt ceiling, a job usually left to the leaders of her party. She took a deep breath and plunged into an explanation of how the task of lawmaking compared to saving a patient near death.
“America is in a code,” she said, urging people to rally behind Mr. Boehner. “It’s crisis time, and it ain’t pretty.”
In a hospital, she said, “there were people in the room that you may not have even liked, but you were all working together to save the patient.”
“And in the end you were high-fiving, hugging, crying and laughing,” she said.
Mrs. Ellmers’s willingness to promote Mr. Boehner’s agenda places her in direct contrast to some of her freshman colleagues, who prefer to repair to Fox News to verbally poke the Republican leadership in the eye.