By Gabriel Debenedetti
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unlike his boss and several other Cabinet members, Vice President Joe Biden will hold off on taking a pay reduction in solidarity with government workers hit by the sequestration budget cuts, his office said Friday.
Biden will take a pay cut if and when members of his own staff are affected. "The vice president is committed to sharing the burden of the sequester with his staff," a representative said.
President Barack Obama is to take a 5 percent pay cut in 2013, equivalent to $20,000, in a show of sympathy with federal employees.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will return the equivalent of 14 days' pay, and Secretary of State John Kerry will donate 5 percent of his salary to charity.
But Biden is holding off for the moment. His pay cut plan is similar to Attorney General Eric Holder's. The Department of Justice said Holder would take a cut equivalent to 14 days' pay - the largest amount any Justice Department staffer would have to take under sequestration - if the sequestration cuts reach his employees.
The $85 billion in sequestration budget cuts were designed to be so severe that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill would be forced to come to an agreement to avoid them.
After they failed to agree, the cuts were set into motion on March 1 but the effect on some government agencies is still not clear and furloughs of federal workers will take time to kick in.
(Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Eric Walsh)