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Biden Will Not Cut His Pay — Yet

Vice president waiting to see if furloughs will affect his staff


NewLettersBucking the trend of Obama administration officials and even the president himself cutting their salaries, Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he will not donate a portion of his salary or return it to the U.S. Treasury — for now.

Why hasn’t Biden followed in the footsteps of Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Treasury Secretary Jack  Lew, among others? Right now, it doesn’t appear that the Vice President’s office will be facing furloughs.

However, Biden has indicated that he would be willing to reconsider his move if the situation changed. “The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff,” a statement released by his office said.

Although financially secure, Biden’s wealth pales in comparison to many of his compatriots in the Obama administration and Cabinet. The typical Cabinet member’s salary is around $200,000 a year, but many secretaries were wealthy prior to taking their positions.  Lew used to work for Citigroup (NYSE:C), and has an estimated net worth between $748,000 and $1.7 million. Kerry’s net worth, thanks in large part to his marriage to Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) heir Theresa Heinz Kerry, is over $200 million.

In contrast, Biden and his wife reported an income of $379,035 in 2011, with $230,700 of that coming from vice presidential pay. The Center for Responsive Politics reported his net worth in 2011 at $423,000. So while he is likely financially comfortable, his wealth pales in comparison to some of his co-workers. Perhaps that’s why he’s hanging onto his VP salary for now.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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