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Obama to return part of pay amid budget cuts

US President Barack Obama plans to return 5 per cent of his salary to the government, as automatic spending cuts force some government workers to take unpaid time off, media reports said Wednesday, DPA reported. "The president has decided that - to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester - he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury," an unnamed official told the news site Politico.  The contribution would amount to 20,000 dollars of his 400,000 salary. Across-the-board spending cuts of 85 billion dollars took effect last month, and some federal departments have warned that they will be forced to furlough employees.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said he will return part of his salary in solidarity with civilian Pentagon workers, who could be forced to take 14 days of unpaid leave through the end of the fiscal year in September. It remains unclear when furloughs might begin.

Opposition Republicans have accused the Obama government of exaggerating the impact of the budget cuts.

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