"Quantico is quiet. I have no new agent classes going through there," Comey said. "I can't afford it."
Comey, who became FBI director on Sept. 4, choked up several times as he discussed the impact of sequestration on FBI employees, who may be facing two weeks of furloughs in addition to layoffs.
"Frankly, as a taxpayer and as an American, I was surprised and it didn't make any sense to me that the FBI director would be asked not just to cut 3,000 positions -- but, given what's on our plate, to send my folks home for a few weeks without pay," Comey said.
"My wife said to me, she said, 'I know you didn't pay attention to the checkbook when you were a federal prosecutor, but did you have any idea what would have happened to us when I was at home with the five kids if you'd lost a paycheck?' She said, 'We'd have been bouncing checks, and I just want you to remember that,'" Comey said.
By law, Comey is the only FBI employee who cannot be furloughed, but he said he will find a way to "share that pain" with his employees. The bureau has to cut $800 million out of its approximately $8 billion budget in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Comey said this month that the cuts will have a "huge impact" on the agency's ability to accomplish its mission.