WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary each month to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from governmentwide spending cuts.
Obama's decision grew out of a desire to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making, a White House official said yesterday.
Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave -- known as furloughs -- if Congress does not strike a deal soon to undo the cuts.
The president is demonstrating that he will be paying a price, too, as the White House warns of dire economic consequences from the $85 billion in cuts that started to hit federal programs last month. In the weeks since, the administration has faced repeated questions about how the White House itself will be affected.
A 5 percent cut from the president's $400,000 annual salary amounts to $1,667 per month.
The move will be retroactive to March 1 -- the day the cuts started to kick in -- and will remain in effect for the rest of fiscal 2013, which runs through Sept. 30, said the White House official.
The 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 hit that other Defense Department civilians are being forced to take.