Obama Cabinet: Who's taking a pay cut?
April 6th, 2013
10:56 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama Cabinet: Who's taking a pay cut?

(CNN) – News that President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are voluntarily surrendering a portion of their paychecks in a show of unity with furloughed federal workers has prompted other Cabinet officials to take similar steps.

The pay cuts come a month after mandatory across-the-board spending cuts went into effect after the White House and lawmakers couldn't agree on a deal to cut the federal deficit. As a result, some federal workers will endure forced days off, which means lower pay.

Obama will donate 5% of his salary – which is set by law at $400,000 – in monthly installments, an administration official said earlier this week.

The hit won't likely make a large dent in Obama's personal budget, however. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates his net worth to be somewhere between $2.8 million and $11.8 million, largely from book sales.

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged to donate 5% of his government salary to a charity that benefits employees of the State Department, though a specific organization had not been chosen yet. Kerry is one of the wealthiest government officials in Washington, with a net worth of more than $200 million. Hagel, who earns $199,700 annually, will write a check to the Treasury for up to 14 days of salary, according to Pentagon press secretary George Little.

Vice President Joe Biden has not yet seen his salary shrink. His office told CNN Friday he will take a pay cut if his staff is affected by the forced budget cuts.

"The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff," said a Biden spokesperson.

Biden's annual salary is $230,700, and his net worth is estimated at $337,000.

The White House has not yet announced plans for furloughs of the vice president's staff, though it did say earlier this week that nearly 500 furlough notices have gone out to administration employees.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will also give 5% of her salary to foundations that benefit employees of her agency, an official with the department said.

Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary, will contribute an unspecified amount of his paycheck to nonprofits that support families and programs that have been affected by the forced spending cuts.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, whose agency has not yet implemented any furloughs, won't take a pay cut, though a spokesman left open the possibility that could change if furloughs do come to the Department of Education.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a radio interview Thursday he would volunteer to cut his salary if Justice Department employees are furloughed, which hasn't happened yet. Later the department said that a pay cut would amount to 14 days of pay.

CNN's Lindy Royce-Bartlett, Kevin Bohn and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    The 5% idea has me baffled... Civil servants will lose a little over 20% of their salaries if they're furloughed. They had nothing to do with the sequester but they are paying the bill for Congressional Tea Baggers who just want to punish somebody and look good for their radical base. When the House offers to give up 20% I'll know they're serious.

    April 6, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. lottie

    the white house giving up anything is welcome news. that's 5% more than the repos. And a nice gesture. Why isn't this big news?? repos to busy making a big deal out of the presidents remarks about the good looking ag

    April 6, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. ray z

    Any politician who grandstands by taking a cut in salary is a true hypocrite. If they were serious, they would give up their cushy retirement plans and join the rest of us in Social Security. Then we would know they were on our side, not just shooting off their mouthes.

    April 6, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. max3333444555

    how about they ask congress to make the pay cuts for their positions permanent?

    April 6, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Peace

    If Boehner was clever enough, he could have organised his troop in congress so that all of them show solidarity as well. This could have won them at least something. BUT this man has no such a thought!

    April 6, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. debbyv

    It is just not Federal that has other retirement city, county, and state does also. If they would eliminate the private retirement plans and all pay into Social Security they would not want it touched. There wouldn't be all this fighting about it, and it would be secure from all the infighting. By the way who set this up anyway? This is exclusionary and sets the government workers up in a better retirement plan than Social Security.

    April 6, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. bonnie

    I appreciatie the 5% pay cut they are taking, but I believe they could all afford to take more. If they were really serious and wanted the real respect of Americans, why not take a 10 or 15% paycut and put it towards jobs that really matter. Make sure we have enough teachers to educate our children, they donn't need to lay off one teacher, in fact they need more. Any program that helps our children and our senior citizens or disabled citizens should not be touched. But for goodness sake, don't take from kids programs, that's our future, that's their future.

    April 6, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. WiredWeirdinSF

    This is a phony story, hand fed to the liberal media by the corrupt White House. Why doesn't CNN and the rest of the liberally biased media go after a real story like the fraudulent Terry McAullife/Clinton scam to rip off states and investors with their green automobile scam. Check it out on Drudge, you know the news outlet that the corrupt administration is trying to supress, you will see why. This corrup administration is uncomfortable with any organization that does not cuddle up to the most corrupt president ever, that is why the bash FOXNEWS so much. Notice the never bash CNN or MSNBC, they play ball with the administration and publish every piece of crap it hands them.

    April 6, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Neutral Observer

    you people are all crazy about asking congress to take a paycut. Do you think they really care about thier salaries?? When you hear about congress men entering serice as a high school teacher and then retiring 20 yrs later as multi-millionaires, they didn't get that way from their salaries. They got that way by yielding political power (selling out) with powerful interests. So giving up their measly salary is just a wild herring.

    April 6, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Catmandew

    How about Obama works for free! Then his job performance is in line with his pay! Then if he actually does his job instead of fundraising in CA or busy makin rude remarks about women. Or complaining about Bush still after what 5 years? We the taxpayers can then pay him if he ever does his job.

    April 6, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Catmandew

    In fact let's do that for all elected officials in DC that will cut our budgets down to a really low number! Because all of them are rich anyways and there aren't doing their jobs. With that plan budget will be balanced in no time flat!

    April 6, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Ed1

    Wow I almost passed out from the people willing to give up 5% or 14 days of their pay really not they are just cheap and could care less about the working class.

    April 6, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Ed1

    Larry L,

    You are way off base if you had any idea the Democrats and Republicans agreed along with the great no leadership President.

    Get you facts straight before you make such stupid comments.

    Obama didn't think it would pass but he signed it anyway why didn't he just veto that's because his own party said stop the out of control spending but now it's a blame game something Obama is really great at.

    April 6, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. tykl

    Unbelievable. The story is 5%, not the pay cut. Obama has millions, why doesn't he give up ALL of his salary? Will the interest he earns on his millions not cover the 3 items he actually has to buy a year?

    April 6, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Pete

    You do know 95% of these politicians are wealthy right so why accept anything in salary at all but laws in the books for over a hundred years won't permit it..If it were true republicans should have NEVER gotten a thing in salaries because you and I know they've definitly never earned it did they!!Getting paid to be obstructionistic and back a hundred or do years ago they'd be hung for being traitors to America but today as ignorence from the right prevails republicans are hailed as heros as long their obstructing doesn't interfere with their constituents agendas or lives..Just remember where it all started with the republicans almost unanimously voting for the sequester and ask republicans if any of their ilk has come forward to voluntarily cut their salaries, I bet not and patriots they're not as well!!

    April 6, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Larry L

    How about a 1% per day cut on the pay of the Congress (including their staffers) until we get a real budget signed? Since they are paid by law we could impose a fine on each of them for poor performance.

    April 6, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Chipster

    How about if members of Congress, not only take a 20% pay cut, but also a 40% cut in the number of high-paid staff members each of them have!?

    April 6, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Name

    They actually make money. Charity deductions?write a check still will increase retirement benefits? Isn't that sweet. Then in same breath talk about cutting social security.

    April 6, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein

    These members of the cabinet who are giving up are being good examples. The idea of doing that permnatly is something to consider but shouldn't be a serious consideration now. Payroll is a very small percentage of the budget.

    April 6, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. MD

    It is a joke and insult for Obama to take a 5% pay cut when we civil servants are taking a little over 20%. Don't patronize us we are smarter than Obama gives us credit, we can add. 5 does not equal 20

    April 6, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. Name Uche Agonsi

    For the Repubs & Boehner, shrill cries & lamentations over bulgeoning US debt appear only the American rich is taxed, the middle class receives benefits or Obama takes step for positive growth in US........but when it comes to funding wars, oil pipelines, or granting the American rich tax concessions, the US debt issue is forgotten.

    April 7, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  22. Pk duster

    Let see if the gop gives up any of there pay check if the orange man gave up any of his pay check he just might have a heart.

    April 7, 2013 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  23. beth

    Concerning Obama's last spoof, did anyone read the US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 8 and see the word "diminished"

    April 7, 2013 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  24. Keller

    They are clearly playing politics with all of this trying to make themselves look better....but at least they are doing something.

    Maybe congress should lower all government pay to the national average. Or how about if you are a millionaire you get no paycheck at all? I'm sure they are getting enough money from the NRA and Pharmacy companies to make up for a cut to their paycheck.

    April 7, 2013 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    When you consider just how bad this administration has been, they should all be resigning!

    April 7, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |