Obama voluntarily returns 5 percent of salary

WASHINGTON

The president makes $400,000 a year. He will return a full $20,000 to the Treasury even though only a few months remain in the fiscal year.

Across-the-board spending cuts mean that hundreds of thousands of government employees could soon be forced to take 14 unpaid days off in the months ahead if Congress does not reach an agreement soon to undo the cuts.

A White House official said Mr. Obama's decision grew out of a desire to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making.

Wednesday's notice followed a similar move a day earlier by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who committed to taking a salary cut equal to 14 days' pay - the same level of cut that other Defense Department civilians are being forced to take.

The cuts were written into a 2011 deficit-reduction measure as a trigger to force future action. The idea was that lawmakers, eager to avert the consequences of bluntly slashing $1 trillion over a decade, would have no choice but to come together to find smarter ways to reduce federal spending.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.