Vice President Joe Biden will not follow President Obama’s example by taking a 5 percent pay cut in 2013, at least not right now.
According to Reuters, the Vice President intends to give back part of his salary if and when his own staff members are effected by the sequester, or the automatic spending cuts to both military and domestic programs that began on March 1, 2013, after Congress failed to come up with a budget agreement. "The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff," a representative for Biden said on Friday.
Biden’s pay cut plan is similar to Attorney General Eric Holder’s. If the sequestration cuts reach members of the Department of Justice, Holder has said he would voluntarily return what he makes for 14 days' worth of work. According to the Washington Post, a 14-day equivalent pay cut equals the maximum amount that any DOJ employee can lose due to the sequestration cuts.
The trend of voluntary pay cuts was started by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, whose salary is roughly $200,000 a year, when he announced on Tuesday that he would give back a part of his income in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of civilian employees in the Defense Department who could be subjected to a 14-day furlough this year.
The Pentagon’s press secretary, George Little, made the announcement during a briefing, saying, “I feel compelled to at least let you know that the secretary plans to subject his pay to furlough levels, even though he’s not required to, because he is a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed official in this department.”
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Other high-ranking politicians and Cabinet members, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, also followed suit, saying that they would return or donate portions of their salaries.
According to CBS News, one possible reason for the Vice President’s delay in offering a pay cut is that he’s comparatively less wealthy than many Senators and Cabinet members. Although Biden’s annual salary is roughly $230,700, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that his net worth as of 2011 was roughly $423,000.
President Obama, by comparison, makes roughly $400,000 a year, but he actually makes most of his income from royalties, including those from his two autobiographies.