April 4, 2013 in Nation/World

Obama gives himself 5 percent cut in pay

He’ll return $20,000 of salary to Treasury
Josh Lederman Associated Press
 
50 percent job approval

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is a so-so 50 percent, as Americans continue to have serious concerns about whether the country is headed in the right direction, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Though the economy continues to grow, nearly six in 10 people believe the country is on the wrong track. Congress and Obama, whose approval numbers have been in the 45 percent to 50 percent range for a year, pay the political price, even as economic numbers suggest a strengthening recovery. Unemployment fell to 7.7 percent in February, its lowest level since December 2008.

The president’s 50 percent job approval rating was the same as he logged in November and December. In the latest survey, 84 percent of Democrats gave Obama high marks overall, compared with 12 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents.

McClatchy-Tribune

WASHINGTON – Sharing a bit of budget pain, President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from government-wide 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 Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave – known as furloughs – if Congress does not reach an agreement 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 – called a sequester – that started to hit federal programs last month after Congress failed to stop them. In the weeks since, the administration has faced repeated questions about how the White House itself will be affected. The cancellation of White House tours in particular has drawn mixed reactions.

A 5 percent cut from the president’s salary of $400,000 per year amounts to $20,000.

Obama will return a full $20,000 to the Treasury even though only a few months remain in the fiscal year, which ends in September. He will cut his first check this month, said the White House official.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama reported almost $790,000 in adjusted gross income in 2011, the most recent year for which their tax returns have been made public. That figure was down from the $1.7 million they brought in the year before and the $5.5 million they reported in 2009. About half of the family’s income in 2011 came from Obama’s salary, with the rest coming from book sales. The Obamas reported more than $172,000 in charitable donations.

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. As many as 700,000 civilians will have to take one unpaid day off each week for up to 14 weeks in the coming months.

Obama isn’t the first president to give up part of his paycheck. Herbert Hoover put his salary in a separate account, then divvied it up, giving part to charity and part to employees he felt were underpaid, according to an interview he gave in 1937. John F. Kennedy donated his presidential salary to various charities, according to Stacey Chandler, an archivist at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

© Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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