Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Obama to give back 5% of his salary

The cut from Barack Obama's salary amounts to 20,000 dollars (13,250 pounds) (AP)
The cut from Barack Obama's salary amounts to 20,000 dollars (13,250 pounds) (AP)

President Barack Obama will return 5% of his salary to the US treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers hurting from 85 billion dollars (£56 billion) in government spending cuts.

Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave if Congress does not reach an agreement soon to undo the cuts, which came as punishment for the inability of the Obama administration and Congress to come up with another way to address the country's gaping debt.

The 5% that the president will hand back mirrors the 5% cut that domestic agencies took when the reductions went into effect. The Pentagon's budget took an 8% hit.

Every federal agency is grappling with spending cuts, which the White House has warned could affect everything from commercial airline flights to classrooms.

A 5% cut from the president's salary of 400,000 dollars (£265,000) per year amounts to 20,000 dollars (£13,250).

"The salary for the president, as with members of Congress, is set by law and cannot be changed," presidential spokesman Jay Carney said.

"However, the president has decided to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government."

It follows a similar move by defence secretary Chuck Hagel, who committed to taking a salary cut equal to 14 days' pay - the same level of reduction that other defence department civilians are being forced to take.

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