President Barack Obama has pledged to return five percent of his salary in a move to show solidarity with furloughed federal workers, according to the AP. While it may seem like a small pittance at only $20,000 returned for the year, the gesture may be more important than anything else. The President makes $400,000 a year outright and about $519,979 with all compensations taken into account.
The move comes as complaints are growing more and more vocal regarding the lack of work being done by the Republicans in the House of Representatives. This also comes at a time when the sequestration cuts are starting to take noticeable effect across the nation. While most cuts have hurt the poor the most, the rich are finding that they cannot fly their own private planes very well due to cuts at various airport traffic towers.
Prior to the automatic budget cuts called the sequester or sequestration, the House Republicans spent almost all their time on vacation, a move that earned them a great deal of criticism. Negotiations between the House Republicans and the Obama Administration pretty much broke down ahead of the cuts going into force.
Among the cuts being made under the sequester are cuts to the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council where 200 of their workers have been laid off and another 2,000 of the 9,000 will be force into unpaid days off this year. The HAMTC oversees a nuclear site.
While some are just laying off workers or not filling vacant positions in order to meet their requirements for the cuts, others have been forced to close including food pantries, health services for the poor, and so forth. Farmers have also been unable to get their milk production information which is causing alarm in the dairy industry and could cause higher milk prices.
Federal courts are also forced to remain closed on Friday, causing problems for the case loads. Workers at missile-testing ranges are also being cut, and cuts at Customs and Immigration has resulted in passengers being unable to debark cruises without long waits.
How Obama’s decision will impact the House of Representatives will have to be seen.