White House to begin furloughs in May


The White House will begin implementing furloughs and pay cuts for all employees beginning in the first pay period in May.

Members of the president’s staff who are commissioned officers, including top deputies and advisers, will see their paychecks docked the equivalent of one day’s pay. Other employees will be told to stay home for an unpaid day of leave.

The cuts will affect all of the 468 employees on the White House payroll.

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“As we have said, as the impact of the sequester progresses, furlough notices and pay cuts are likely,” a White House aide said in an email.

The aide said the furlough notices have been sent to the White House Office, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality.

Divisions will also look to reduce costs through pay cuts, hiring slow-downs, delayed back-filling of open positions, the scaling-back of supplies and equipment purchases, curtailing staff travel and reducing the use of air cards and subscriptions.

The number of furlough days and their pacing will vary depending on division budgets. Employees could face as few as three or as many as 10 unpaid days.

The aide said that while the cuts meant every White House employee was “dealing with the consequences both in their own lives and in their ability to do their job,” the administration was more worried about how the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts was affecting ordinary Americans.

The White House previously announced that 480 employees in the Office of Management and Budget would be furloughed. Those employees will see ten days of unpaid leave spaced between April 21 and Sept. 1.

President Obama has announced that he would be returning 5 percent of his salary in solidarity with furloughed workers. Vice President Biden has pledged to take a cut commensurate with that of employees in his office.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have also said they would forfeit some of their pay.