From left, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will take voluntary pay cuts to represent furloughs civilian DoD workers will endure this fiscal year. (Staff)
WASHINGTON — The secretaries of the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy will each give up a portion of his salary to show solidarity with hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian workers facing mandatory furloughs this year.
As political appointees, the service chiefs are exempt from the mandatory budget cuts, known as sequestration, requiring government-wide spending reductions.
Army Secretary John McHugh, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley will donate portions of their salaries — equal to the number of days had they been furloughed — to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance fund, which provides scholarships, emergency assistance and child care subsidies to federal workers.
“Secretary McHugh is a lifelong public servant, so he understands the tremendous contributions of the civilian workforce,” said Maj. Chris Kasker, the Army secretary’s spokesman, in a Wednesday email.
Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for Mabus, said in an email that the Navy secretary “values the contributions of the civilian workers who are such a vital part of the Navy and Marine Corps team.”
Maj. Megan Schafer, a spokesperson for Donley, said, “In line with Secretary Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Carter, Secretary Donley will make a contribution to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance fund for the amount of furlough days he would be subjected to as a civilian employee as a sign of solidarity with Air Force civilian employees being furloughed.”
The three secretaries, who are paid about $180,000 a year, join Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who have said they would forgo a portion of their salaries in a sign of solidarity with the nearly 800,000 DoD civilian employees who are expected to be furloughed 14 work days later this year.
On Wednesday, the White House said President Obama would return 5 percent of his salary in a sign of solidarity with federal workers losing pay due to sequestration.
Staff writers Christopher P. Cavas and Jeff Schogol contributed to this report.