By David Siders
Call it sequester for charity.
Rep. Ami Bera said Tuesday that he is donating a percentage of his salary equal to the across-the-board, federal budget cuts that took effect this month.
The Elk Grove Democrat's pledge comes as he and other incumbents of both parties are criticized over the sequester's $85 billion in mandatory cuts.
Bera said he will donate 8.2 percent of his salary, or $1,189, to a different charity each month through September, the end of the fiscal year.
His first contribution this month was to a Meals on Wheels program in Sacramento County.
He said he decided last week to donate a percentage of his salary after reading a story about the Meals on Wheels program in The Bee.
Bera said sequestration is a "dumb way to do business" but that elected officials should share in the pain.
The sequester doesn't affect salaries for members of Congress, but the 8.2 percent figure is in line with how much they have been told to reduce their office budgets.
Bera said he opted to donate his money instead of returning it to the U.S. Treasury to help programs affected by the cuts.
He does not plan to claim the contributions for tax purposes, he added.