Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, April 5, 2013
As Democrats continue to cry foul about the impact that sequestration is having on the American people, several high-ranking Democrats (and Congressional Republicans) have announced that they will forefit part of their salary this year “in solidarity” with the government employees who will face furloughs or pay cuts this year.
In the meantime, a full 40 percent of Americans believe that the sequestration has not had any impact on the American economy and federal employees are seeing the number of days they will be furloughed either lowered or completely eliminated.
Red Alert Politics has put together a running list of those politicians who have already announced they will return part of their salary. Who knows how many more will make that pledge before all is said and done?!?
The Commander-in-Chief agreed to forfeit five percent – or just under $17,000 – of his annual salary for the 10 months that sequestration is in effect this year. In a statement, a White House official said that “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 give part his salary back to the Treasury.” The president’s salary, however, cannot actually be altered on the fly – it is set by federal law.
Newly-minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to return 14 days worth of his $200,000 salary to the Defense department in solidarity with the workers in his Department that are facing a 14-day furlough starting in June. It should be noted that the Department originally planned on furloughing employees for as many as 22 days this year, however.
Attorney General Eric Holder will be taking a voluntary $10,750 pay cut this year, which is the equivalent of 14 furlough days. In a statement to TIME magazine, the Justice Department said that ”The Attorney General intends to take a pay cut equal to the maximum amount any Justice Department employee has to take as a result of the sequestration, which is up to 14 days this fiscal year, so that those funds can go back into the Treasury.” Holder, like Hagel, also earns $200,000 annually.
Giving up money – let alone a meager five percent of his salary – shouldn’t be a problem for someone supposedly worth$200 million, yet newly-minted Secretary of State John Kerry is doing just that. Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Thursday that Kerry will donate 5 percent of his $183,500 salary, or $9,175, to a charity for department employees.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also announced Thursday that he will take a pay cut this year due to the sequestration. According to the Associated Press, Lew will give part of his salary to non-profits that support people and programs affected by the sequestration; the Treasury has not released details on the amount of the cut or the non-profits benefitting from Lew’s donation as of yet.
A spokesperson for Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told POLITICO Thursday that she will donate five percent of her salary to foundations that benefit department staff.
A number of House and Senate members on both sides of the aisle have announced that they will give up part of their 2013 salary in solidarity with the federal government employees being furloughed this year. While Congressional offices have seen their budgets slashed by 8.2 percent since March 1, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act of 1985 exempts members of Congress from having their salaries cut by sequestration.
Among those who have voluntarily agreed to give up part of their pay this year in “solidarity” with their employees are: