Cabinet members to take sequester pay cuts

April 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- Several of President Obama's Cabinet members pledged to give back some of their pay as a show of solidarity with U.S. government employees hit by the sequester.

Among those who committed to cutting their pay are Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, various news outlets reported.

The White House said Wednesday President Obama would return 5 percent of his salary to the U.S. Treasury for the 10 months the sequester -- mandated federal spending cuts -- is in effect, The Hill said.

Obama's actions came after Hagel said he would forfeit a portion of his salary that is equivalent to 14 days of pay. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter also said he would return some of his pay as well.

Kerry plans to give 5 percent of his salary to a charity for State Department employees, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

Napolitano will donate 5 percent of her salary to foundations that benefit department personnel, a spokesperson told Politico.

A Treasury Department spokesman said Lew will contribute a "portion of his salary to non-profits that support people and programs that have been adversely affected by the sequester."

Attorney General Eric Holder said he will give back some of his pay if his department needs to furlough its employees.

The Justice Department told Time magazine Thursday Holder would forfeit about 14 days of pay, the "equivalent to the maximum amount any Justice Department employee has to take as a result of the sequestration ... ."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he would consider similar action if his department must furlough employees, a spokesman told Politico.

"If/when we get to that point, I'm sure Arne will consider it, but nothing's been decided as of today," the spokesman said.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and his deputy, Maurice Jones, "will be donating an amount equivalent to their furlough day salaries to either an industry-related non-profit or returning it to the U.S. Treasury," spokesman George Gonzalez said.

Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe has donated 32 hours of his salary to a federal fund that provides emergency financial assistance to federal employees, Politico said.

The across-the-board cuts in federal spending went into effect March 1.

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