President Obama is donating a portion of his paycheck to the government, but Vice President Biden isn’t — at least so far.
Biden plans to take a pay cut if members of his staff are furloughed as a result of the sequester, his office said Friday.
“The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff,” a spokesperson for the vice president said in an e-mail.
But the White House has not yet announced plans to furlough employees who work in the West Wing and or for the vice president’s staff, creating a potentially awkward disconnect among top administration officials.
Obama and several other cabinet members rushed this week to day they would turn back some of their salary to the U.S. Treasury as a gesture of solidarity with federal workers facing furloughs. So far, Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have all said publicly that they would be giving back portions of their $200,000 salaries.
Some have flatly declared that they plan to return the equivalent of 14 days’ pay — the maximum number of furlough days that employees and contractors are likely to face. That represents just under a $11,000 forfeiture. Others, like Biden, have said they will return a portion commiserate with the number of days their department’s employees are furloughed.
But Biden’s decision not to follow Obama’s lead and return a flat portion of his salary — and the possibility that nobody on the vice president’s staff will be furloughed — has already prompted speculation in the media that Biden was looking to sidestep the pay cut.
Unlike some members of the Obama Cabinet, he is not independently wealthy.
Obama’s net worth is estimated at between $3 million and $8 million and Secretary of State John Kerry’s wealth is in the range of $200 million according to The Hill’s “50 wealthiest lawmakers: list.
Biden’s net worth in comparison, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is around $230,000, an amount roughly equivalent to his annual salary.