President Barack Obama plans to return 5% of his salary this year to the Treasury, a gesture of solidarity with federal workers facing reduced pay and possible furloughs because of the sequester.
The President will return 5% or $20,000 of his $400,000 salary, the White House announced on Wednesday. This percentage matches the level of reductions faced by most non-defense programs when the sequester took effect on March 1, according to an article in the Boston Globe
“The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury,” a White House official said.
More than 70,000 federal employees have received notices that their agencies intend to furlough them as early as this month, according to White House officials, including 47,000 at the Federal Aviation Administration, 17,000 at the Environmental Protection Agency and 480 at the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees implementing the sequester.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to voluntarily give up part of his salary, as is Ashton Carter, the deputy defense secretary. Senator Mark Begich, who is also taking a voluntary salary cut, said: “We need to make responsible cuts wherever we can and there is no reason that members of Congress shouldn’t feel the pinch like everyone else.”
Obama, whose $400,000 annual salary is set in law and can’t officially be changed, will write a check made out to the U.S. treasury every month beginning in April.