By Eric Katz
July 30, 2013
Another lawmaker has added his name to the tally of officials who have pledged to donate a portion of their salary in solidarity with furloughed federal employees.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has repeatedly spoken out against furlough plans at the Defense Department. Warner joins a long list of lawmakers and executive branch officials who have announced intentions to forfeit some pay as hundreds of thousands of federal workers take unpaid leave.
Unlike Warner, most officials made the pledge months ago, when agencies first announced their intentions to furlough employees. The Virginia senator is donating 20 percent of his salary from now through September to the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, according to The Virginian-Pilot -- a much higher total than other individuals.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., has followed through on his pledge to donate 8.2 percent of his salary each month to local charities. So far the beneficiaries have been Meals on Wheels in Sacramento County, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Athletic League, the America River College’s Veterans Information Center, Elk Grove Food Bank Services and the Veterans Golf Park and Center for Disabled Vets.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, began furloughing his own staff in March. While lawmakers themselves are exempt from sequestration, their offices are not. Beghich’s staff has taken two days of unpaid leave, and -- barring unforeseen additional furloughs -- the senator will donate two days of pay back to the U.S. Treasury. He will do so in one lump sum, either by sending a check or on Treasury’s website, his office told Government Executive.
The Treasury Department’s secretary -- Jack Lew -- is also cutting his own salary, but is not giving back to his agency. Instead, Lew has contributed a portion of his earnings to three non-profit organizations that “provide education assistance for young people, community -based programs for the elderly and food and medical care for the most vulnerable,” according to his office. Lew’s staff did not elaborate on exactly how much of his salary he has contributed.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has said she will donate a day’s pay for each day feds are furloughed -- matching the highest number of furlough days at any agency -- to the FEEA Fund. She will make her donation in one lump sum at the end of the fiscal year, her office said.
Norton’s contributions are well timed; the FEEA Fund recently said donations are “urgently needed” after an influx of requests for assistance came in from furloughed federal workers.
By Eric Katz
July 30, 2013