Obama cutting own pay in solidarity with federal workers

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 3, 2013 4:16pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks alongside first lady Michelle (2nd R), their daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (3rd R), Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson (L) and the Easter Bunny as they participate in the 135th annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks alongside first lady Michelle (2nd R), their daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (3rd R), Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson (L) and the Easter Bunny as they participate in the 135th annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, April 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to give back 5 percent of his pay in a gesture of solidarity with government workers who must take unpaid leave as a result of deep spending cuts that went into effect last month.

The president's self-imposed pay cut would be effective from March 1, when the spending cuts began, and would last through the end of December, an administration official said on Wednesday.

Obama earns $400,000 a year. The official said the president decided on the 5-percent reduction, which would total $20,000, because it would be similar to the level of cuts to non-defense government agencies.

Defense and non-defense discretionary spending has shrunk across the board as a result of reductions under a process known as sequestration. To maintain critical functions, many agencies are making workers take unpaid leave, or furloughs.

The president's gesture comes after the top Defense Department official said he would return part of his salary in an amount equal to pay lost by civilian employees.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will give back the equivalent of 14 days worth of pay to the government, about $10,750, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

Obama's decision was first reported by The New York Times.

Sequestration was originally designed as an outcome so harsh that budget negotiators would find another way to narrow trillion-dollar deficits.

However, Obama would not back away from his insistence that any spending cuts be paid for in part by higher tax revenues, while Republicans, who had conceded higher tax rates on the rich in budget deal in January, refused to agree to any tax hikes.

The $85 billion in overall cuts went into effect after the two sides reached impasse.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (8)
RAHoovr wrote:
Why does Reuters continue to talk about “deep spending cuts”? More money is being spent than last year. I wish my pay check would suffer the same kind of deep spending cuts. Perhaps Reuters should write about financial miss-management in the executive branch.

Apr 03, 2013 4:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Stryker2012 wrote:
I’ll bet there won’t be many who will follow in congress and the house of representatives what Obama just did.

Apr 03, 2013 4:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
WD40 wrote:
Here’s a better idea…why doesn’t Obama save the U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars by NOT taking golf trips and saving us even more by making Michelle stay home and clean the house.

Apr 03, 2013 4:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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