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Kerry to give five percent of his salary to charity

John Kerry speaks during a press conference at the US State Department in Washington, DC, April 2, 2013
John Kerry speaks during a press conference at the US State Department in Washington, DC, April 2, 2013. Kerry will give five percent of his annual government salary to charity this year to show solidarity with federal workers forced to take unpaid leave

US Secretary of State John Kerry will give five percent of his annual government salary to charity this year to show solidarity with federal workers forced to take unpaid leave due to budget cuts.

Kerry, the wealthiest member of the cabinet, will make the gesture after President Barack Obama said he would return part of his salary to the Treasury.

Married to Teresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited a fortune when her first husband John Heinz died in 1991, Kerry's personal wealth amounts to some $125 million, Politico reported earlier this year.

Kerry already makes substantial contributions to charities, but would donate just over $9,000 of his annual $183,500 salary under the new move, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday.

"In recognition of the special circumstances of sequester, the secretary does intend to give the equivalent of five percent of his government salary to an appropriate charity that will benefit employees of the State Department," she said.

Nuland said there were a number of charities that helped diplomats or their families if they are injured or killed while at work, as well as charities to help the children of State Department staff.

"He wanted to ensure that his contribution made a direct impact on our larger State Department family," she added.

The White House has warned that thousands of federal government workers could be furloughed, see salaries hit or even be laid off because of arbitrary budget cuts of $85 billion.

The measure came into force because Obama and Republican lawmakers were unable to agree on a deal to cut the US budget deficit.

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