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Obama takes pay cut in solidarity with struggling government workers

President Barack Obama will pay back 5 percent of his annual government salary to the U.S. Treasury. It’s a move meant to signal solidarity with federal workers facing furloughs because of automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama makes $400,000 in presidential pay (though, thanks in part to book royalties, his 2011 tax filings show that his adjusted gross income that year was $789,674). Between now and Oct. 1, the end of the 2013 fiscal year, he will cut monthly checks that will total $20,000, an aide told Yahoo News.

The announcement came one day after the Pentagon revealed that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would return 14 days’ pay, or roughly $10,750, based on his annual salary of $199,700.

The symbolic move came amid widespread news reports that sequestration —deep, indiscriminate government spending cuts—were hitting Americans’ bottom line and leaving gaps in key services.

The New York Times first reported Obama’s decision.

“The salary for the president, as with members of Congress, is set by law and cannot be changed,” another aide said to Yahoo News on condition of anonymity.

“However, the president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury.”

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