The No. 2 civilian in the Defense Department said Tuesday he will refuse part of his salary this year in order to feel the kind of pain that other civilian workers will feel if the automatic spending cuts due March 1 take effect.
Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the looming cuts to the Pentagon will force it to rewrite the entire national defense strategy that was designed just a year ago.
While those in the uniformed services have been spared, civilian workers within the department will likely have to be furloughed. Mr. Carter said that as a political appointee he can’t be furloughed, but will voluntarily give back some of his pay as a show of solidarity.
“I’m going to give back a fifth of my salary,” he said.
The automatic spending cuts, set in place by the 2011 debt deal, are scheduled to hit March 1 and will require an $85 billion funding cut this year, with much of that coming out of the Defense Department and the rest from domestic discretionary spending.
Most Democrats and Republicans say they would like to cancel part or all of the defense cuts, but they disagree on how to do that — President Obama wants to raise taxes, while Republicans say this year’s tax deal already raised revenue. The GOP says it’s time to cut entitlement spending to preserve the military.