Military secretaries to donate pay over furloughs

The pay cuts from the service secretaries follow the lead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who also said this week he would give back the portion of his salary equal to the number of civilian furlough days. President Obama said Wednesday that he was donating 5 percent of his salary to show solidarity with those affected by Air Force cuts.

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As political appointees, the service secretaries and Hagel are not eligible for furloughs.

Army Secretary John McHugh, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley are all donating the money to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund, officials with the services said Thursday.

The fund provides scholarships, emergency assistance and child care subsidies to federal workers, said Army spokesman Maj. Christopher Kasker.

The Pentagon is planning furloughs for most of its civilian workforce of nearly 800,000 employees in order to save $2.5 billion in 2013. The furloughs will be up to 14 days through September and would begin in mid-June.

They are one of the most visible steps the Pentagon is taking in order to cut $41 billion from its 2013 budget under sequester.