With the salaries of federal employees feeling the squeeze of sequester-mandated spending cuts, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that he will dock his own pay in solidarity.
The president says he will return 5% of his $400,000 annual salary to federal coffers this year in a bid to highlight the impact of automatic spending cuts on federal employees. He will be joined by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who will return portions of their salaries in response to cuts in their departments, the Washington Post notes.
Republicans dismissed the president’s gesture as meaningless, noting that the president routinely uses Air Force One to fly to fundraising and recreational events. Air Force One costs $180,000 an hour to operate.
In addition to his federal salary, Obama received royalties from two best-selling books. The First Family has reported annual incomes of $5.5 million, $1.8 million and $750,000 for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Last month, the White House announced that it was cancelling public tours due to sequester-imposed budget cuts.
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