A gesture of support for Savannah River Site workers or a political maneuver, S.C.'s senior Senator is furloughing himself to show sympathy for those being hit by sequestration.
Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham was in Aiken to speak with local business owners and talk about his current political focuses.
One focus was the funding SRS has lost and an effort, he said, to reprogram $80 million in federal funds to improve the level at which the Department of Energy owned-site was running.
During his time, he said he would become simpatico with sequestration-hit employees by giving 20 percent of his salary away.
“I'm going to cut my pay by 20 percent. I'm going to show some sympathy to those people being furloughed by missing one day a week of work,” Graham said, referencing the 2,500 SRS workers, as well as thousands of other furloughed federal employees. “I'll give half of it to the Wounded Warrior's program and the other half to the American Cancer Society.”
The Senator is not alone, the Pentagon on Tuesday announced that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will also follow suit by writing a check to the Treasury. Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., have also indicated that they will give extra to charity or give back to the Treasury.
Senators make $174,000 annually, so Graham, if his pledge held for a year would mean $17,000 to Wounded Warriors and the American Cancer Society.
Asked if they would follow Graham's sympathetic lead, other members of the Washington delegation talked of their regular charitable contributions.
“The Senator already tithes and charitably gives more than a quarter of his salary combined, and will continue to do so,” said Sean Smith, spokesman for Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
“Every year, Congressman Wilson gives to several faith-based organizations and charities within South Carolina,” said Rep. Joe Wilson spokesperson Caroline Delleney. “This year will be no different as he will continue to donate to these organizations that are feeling the burn during this uncertain economic time.”