President Bush asked Congress on Friday to cut the pay of top federal officials, including himself, by 10 percent, "as a symbol of our understanding of the concerns of so many Americans."
The proposal goes beyond the pay cuts the president outlined in his economic speech in Detroit on Sept. 10 in that he includes himself, the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives.The White House said that the president's pay-cut proposal would save $400 million in the first full year, and it would affect more than64,000 civilian and 1,000 military personnel.
"For other leaders in our government, members of Congress, senior officials paid more than $75,000 in all three branches of the government, and high-ranking military officers, the pay reductions would be 5 percent," the president said in a message to Congress.
A pay increase had been scheduled for these officials in January next year but, Bush said, it would not take place.
Congress has only one more week of business scheduled. Bush released his statement late Friday evening, a time when it would get minimum attention.
Bush said it was important that his proposal be acted on quickly, because the Constitution says a president's salary can only be changed at the beginning of a new term of office.
Bush said the proposed reduction is part of his Agenda for American Renewal, issued in Detroit.
Bush receives $200,000 a year. His salary would be cut to $180,000.
The pay of the vice president and the speaker would be reduced from $166,200 to $149,580 a year.
The pay of Supreme Court justices and federal judges cannot be reduced under the Constitution. But the Jan. 1 raise would not go into effect, the White House said.
Under the Bush plan, on Jan. 20, government employees receiving more than $75,000 a year would see their pay reduced "to the greater of either $75,000 or 95 percent of their present pay rate."