WASHINGTON — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to give up a portion of his salary in a sign of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian employees who are expected to be furloughed 14 work days later this year.
Hagel joins Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who in February pledged to voluntarily give a portion of his salary back to the Treasury to stand as one with the government civilian workers who face these furloughs due to sequestration, mandatory federal spending cuts.
Hagel’s and Carter’s salaries are not subject to sequestration furloughs.
“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,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said during a briefing on Tuesday.
Little himself is facing a 14-day furlough later this year. Nearly all 800,000 DoD civilians are facing the same.
Carter announced at a Feb. 14 Senate Appropriations Committee hearing that he would give up a portion of his salary in solidarity with civilians employees being furloughed.
As defense secretary, Hagel makes about $200,000 per year; Carter makes around $180,000.
DoD had planned to furlough its civilian workers 22 days in order to achieve spending caps mandated under sequestration. But last week, Hagel announced the Pentagon would cut that to a projected 14 days following Congress’ passage of a 2013 defense appropriations bill.