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Obama freezes bonuses to federal appointees

By Scott Wilson

President Obama ordered a freeze Tuesday on all bonuses and other monetary awards to federal political appointees, saying "like households and businesses across the country, the federal government is tightening its belt."

Obama is under intense political pressure to close the federal budget deficit, and the presidential memo he issued Tuesday night is the latest in a series of personnel decisions he has made to help do so.

Upon taking office, he froze the salaries of his senior staff members. And in his budget proposal, he called for a salary freeze for all senior political appointees across the federal government, a step that would require congressional approval.

Obama does not need legislation to enact the freeze he ordered Tuesday, which suspends "cash awards, quality step increases, bonuses and similar discretionary payments or salary adjustments" to any federal political appointee.

White House officials estimate that 2,900 employees will be affected by the order, which is projected to save the government $1.9 million a year.

"I appreciate the hard work of our Federal workforce, and understand how important these payments can be to many workers and their families," Obama wrote in the memo. "Yet like households and businesses across the country, we need to make tough choices about how to spend our funds."

By Emi Kolawole  |  August 3, 2010; 7:59 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Jobs, jobs, jobs. When Americans go back to work, our economy will become healthy again. Without jobs we are going to fade into oblivion. I see thousands of empty storefronts, teachers being laid off, factories closed down. Politicians talk about loans, interest rates, the national debt. Is there anyone up there that knows that until we put millions of people back to work nothing will change on Main Street. Our economy is unworkable, our defenses grow weaker every day. Our borders are not secure. Our great country becomes weaker every day. Wake up policy makers. President Obama, take the reins and make the decisions that will save our Country. Speak loudly and clearly to the Americans that are fearful and defeated, they will stand behind you all the way if you push for their interests. Jobs, Schools, and safe borders, please President Obama stand up for the Citizens of America, we need honest leadership. My father worked in the CCC in 1930, President Roosevelt brought our country out of despair and saved our families and our Country. History praises him as the greatest President, You are our last hope. If the Republicans move back into Congress and the Democrates lose. I believe all hope for recovery will be lost. Elizabeth Rogers

Posted by: rogerselle | August 5, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Jobs, jobs, jobs. When Americans go back to work, our economy will become healthy again. Without jobs we are going to fade into oblivion. I see thousands of empty storefronts, teachers being laid off, factories closed down. Politicians talk about loans, interest rates, the national debt. Is there anyone up there that knows that until we put millions of people back to work nothing will change on Main Street. Our economy is unworkable, our defenses grow weaker every day. Our borders are not secure. Our great country becomes weaker every day. Wake up policy makers. President Obama, take the reins and make the decisions that will save our Country. Speak loudly and clearly to the Americans that are fearful and defeated, they will stand behind you all the way if you push for their interests. Jobs, Schools, and safe borders, please President Obama stand up for the Citizens of America, we need honest leadership. My father worked in the CCC in 1930, President Roosevelt brought our country out of despair and saved our families and our Country. History praises him as the greatest President, You are our last hope. If the Republicans move back into Congress and the Democrates lose. I believe all hope for recovery will be lost. Elizabeth Rogers

Posted by: rogerselle | August 5, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

My math must be off so someone please correct it. I really want to know the answer. If he is talking about 2900 jobs and saving 1.9 million, does't that mean the employess he is cutting off are only making 65K per year. Keep in mind that you need a Master's degree to get hired in this day and age by the gov't or have 10-15 yrs experience. He needs to be freezing/decreasing wages of czars, representatives, white house staff and other head honchos making real money not the slave wagers. I divided money by number of jobs. We all know statistically this job freeze was presented "mean wise": which means a lot of the freezes will happen to the poor smucks with the higher education bills making 40K instead of the middle management "I think I am a hotshot"and make 90-125K. I am sure he did not do his math like I did. The ones making more than 125K will not be affected. Look at history if you do not believe me

Posted by: jacksjill | August 4, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Champishere:
Let me see if I've got this right. The Repukes engaged in: Massive deficit spending, stimulus packages, two failed & illegal wars, bailouts of Wall Street "fatcats" and the creation of new entitlement programs (prescription drugs for the elders).

Obama has put forth a budget that TRIPLES the repukes deficit spending, stimulus package 5 times as big as the repukes', increased the trop levels in one of the two illegal wars, bailed out even more Wall Street "fatcats," and created the BIGGEST ENTITLEMENT program since MediCare/MedicAid!

So if the Republicans are "repukes" what should we call the Democrats? Democraps?

Posted by: vince33x | August 4, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhhh...so that's how they paid for Michelle's trip to Spain.

Posted by: forgetthis | August 4, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009

Posted by: twotimetuna |

******************************************

The big fat stupid idiot Charlie Tuna once again spouting off at poll numbers. Wasn't it you repukes that disregarded the poll numbers the entire time Bush was in office?

Forget your polls, they are useless and don't indicate how people will vote in November. They only reflect present feelings about the economy. Question: What alternative is there . . . going back to the Repukes way of handling the economy tht almost destroyed this great country?

Once again Charlie Tuna, you are a fat idiot! Get back to work fat boy!

Posted by: TheChampishere | August 4, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This is an honorable beginning to start from, but bonuses should never have been paid in the first place. Bonuses are paid out of profits. We are in DEBT. If we are in debt, there is no PROFIT, and as such, there is no money to pay bonuses with. This sounds simple, but some people apparently just don't get it. Also, putting a 5 year freeze on salary increases for our federal legislators would be a good continuation, and beyond that, raises should be based only upon the increase in the cost of living. Many of us in the private sector do well to get that. It's time to level the playing field a bit and reduce the deficit in the process.

Posted by: sober1 | August 4, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The $1.9 saving is not overall significant,but it does attack the problem of deficiit reduction on another level; every single effort to streamline government, cut waste, and improve revenues (as with a long-overdue tax on those that have not only very high incomes but tremendous wealth, is going to make a difference. Maybe Mr. Obama is exposing an aspect of a culture-just as we have all been exposed to the culture of GREED. You cannot blame the incredible harm caused by this culture found primarily in the banking and financial regulations industry on Obama.Here's one for ya-to use a Palinism-imagine what revenue would be taken in if the US government,Republicans and Democrats agreed to impose a very small tax,less than 1%, on international money movement. Your treasury would take in billions from this; I believe it is known as the James TOBIN TAX. I believe Sha Sha in Inuit means GO FOR IT!

Posted by: jsasnooky | August 4, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The $1.9 saving is not overall significant,but it does attack the problem of deficiit reduction on another level; every single effort to streamline government, cut waste, and improve revenues (as with a long-overdue tax on those that have not only very high incomes but tremendous wealth, is going to make a difference. Maybe Mr. Obama is exposing an aspect of a culture-just as we have all been exposed to the culture of GREED. You cannot blame the incredible harm caused by this culture found primarily in the banking and financial regulations industry on Obama.Here's one for ya-to use a Palinism-imagine what revenue would be taken in if the US government,Republicans and Democrats agreed to impose a very small tax,less than 1%, on international money movement. Your treasury would take in billions from this; I believe it is known as the James TOBIN TAX. I believe Sha Sha in Inuit means GO FOR IT!

Posted by: jsasnooky | August 4, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Uh....did we get our figures correct?

$1.9 Million in savings covering 2,900 employees?

That works out to $655.17 per employee...these are bonuses????

Posted by: tspafford | August 4, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

1.9 million is like a pimple on the ass of time compared to the deficit!

Posted by: rteske | August 4, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I was convinced that this article must be an example of sloppy reporting. Certainly the President's release must have also stated something like "While the resources saved by this action will certainly be small, the example set will serve to demonstrate my commitment to fiscal responsibility". So I looked it up: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-freeze-discretionary-awards-bonuses-and-similar-payments . My apologies, Scott, he really did release this with a straight face and without disclaimer, as if the dollars saved would practically matter. Wow. I wonder, after having vilified the business community, then the Supreme Court of the United States, and now the senior leaders of the Executive Branch, who'll be blamed next? You know, I really want the President to succeed, solely because I want our nation to succeed. Claiming that our cornerstone institutions are failing will not make that happen. Suddenly Mr. Reagan's "Morning in America" is sounding a little less like simple campaign sloganeering and a little more like real leadership.

Posted by: qtrfoil85 | August 4, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Have another idea:
*Reduce Congressional Member's and staff's pay and perks by 15%, and permit increases only when spending is cut to equal revenue.
*Reduce expenditures by the Executive Branch for the next four years to the average expenditure for the past ten years.
*Average tax increases (including the hidden taxes) inacted by Congress, reduce their congressional retirement accounts by a like percentage.
Then, and only then should the little fiefdoms in DC be permitted to tax it's citizens further -- including banks!

Posted by: wheeljc | August 4, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As usual, another penny wise and pound foolish gesture. Rein in the Pentagon, you doofus.

Posted by: TooManyPeople | August 4, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The Obama's will be needing that 1.9 Million for entertainment expenses next year. After all, there are certain social standards that must be met.

Posted by: richard36 | August 4, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

This applies only to POLITICAL APPOINTEES--can you believe there are 2,900 POLITICAL APPOINTEES feeding at the federal trough complements of Obama? Wonder how many are CZARS and CZAR staff?

Impeach Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | August 4, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Didn't some Louisiana Congressman freeze his bonus? Is this where Obama got the idea? How many freezers does it take to hold $1.9M in bonus money?

Impeach Obama

Posted by: JCM-51 | August 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Didn't some Louisiana Congressman freeze his bonus? Is this where Obama got the idea? How many freezers does it take to hold $1.9M in bonus money?

Impeach Obama

Posted by: JCM-51 | August 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Didn't some Louisiana Congressman freeze his bonus? Is this where Obama got the idea? How many freezers does it take to hold $1.9M in bonus money?

Impeach Obama

Posted by: JCM-51 | August 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

usnr02's "experience" with federal employees must have been that one once stole a twinkie from her lunch box.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | August 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

My experience with Civil Service employees is that they spend 80% of their time at work reading their benefits manual, 10% of their time trying to look busy, and 10% of their time actually doing something. ALL are grossly overpaid. Cutting bonuses should just be a start.........

Posted by: usnr02 | August 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Great news!! This will almost offset the $2,000,000 in the stimulus to study about the freezing of RAT SPERM.

Posted by: dooey | August 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

$1.9M. That will pay for two more soldiers in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | August 4, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

One receives a SALARY for doing the job they were hired to do. One receives a BONUS for doing 25% PLUS over the requirements of the job. Has anyone noticed the economy and the state of the nation? We are BANKRUPT!!! "Political appointees" should not even receive their salary, much less a bonus.

Posted by: IQ168 | August 4, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama has tripled the deficit in just 18 months.

Obama's deficit in just 1 year is larger than the last 4 years of Bush COMBINED.

Obama is currently spending at over 3 times the rate of Bush every single month.

Posted by: fury60 | August 4, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps now that Democrats don't want Obama to come to their aid in campaigning, AF 1 will not be making as many trips.
The trip to CA to campaign for Boxer was the height of arrogance as major issues were on the table and he took off for CA.

I agree with the other poster as well. Michelle has a staff for both the basic First Lady administrative stuff --- and hair, makeup, wardrobe staff. A couple of cuts there could save some money.

In addition, who evaluates the federal employees? How many of them are just assuming some title? What about all the czars? Any cuts there?

Posted by: pjcafe | August 4, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

the headline reads, "President Obama ordered a freeze Tuesday on all bonuses and other monetary awards to federal political appointees, saying "like households and businesses across the country, the federal government is tightening its belt." "

-----------------

gee. this should have been a *GIVEN* a year and a half ago.

what else is mister cajone-less going to announce this week.

o'bama is such a stud!

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: SPYvsSPY | August 4, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Every time I see Barack's name... all I can think of is CHANGE and how I didn't know he was talking about the Obamanation of America.

He is either the most corrupt president ever...

Or he is the most stupid, which as a Harvard graduate, is probably more likely.

Posted by: btrask3 | August 4, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Every time I see Barack's name... all I can think of is CHANGE and how I didn't know he was talking about the Obamanation of America.

He is either the most corrupt president ever...

Or he is the most stupid, which as a Harvard graduate, is probably more likely.

Posted by: btrask3 | August 4, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Too late Obama. People see through your ruse.

The stupid ones are still cheering you on but you won't get the others back.

Posted by: Cryos | August 4, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree--the $1.9M is really meaningless in terms of closing the federal deficit.

It is, however, $1.9M more towards that goal than the the Republicans have achieved despite all of their public declarations and posturing.

Posted by: FLTransplant | August 4, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree. No sense of proportion at all. $1.9M v. however much it takes to run 1 day of the war in either Iraq or Afganistan which is much more. There will not be fiscal prosperity while we are out of these dead end wars.

Posted by: chica1 | August 3, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009

Posted by: twotimetuna | August 3, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't he eliminate his wife's staff. That would save more.

Posted by: nsemple2 | August 3, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: asdf2
"Oh, $1.9 million a year. That will certainly help close the budget deficit, as Mr. Wilson notes.
How about a little context here, Mr. Wilson? What percentage of the deficit will this close? What actions did the President take today to increase the deficit? How much has Obama and the Democratic congress increased the deficit in the last week, or month, let alone this term?
What a joke."

Yeah, don't take baby steps ... do something big like bring the troops home, close 95% of DOD's 900+ foreign military bases, eliminate tax subsidies to U.S. overseas corporations, get rid of the filibuster..
You are the joke.

Posted by: knjincvc | August 3, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

"And in his(Obama) budget proposal, he(Obama)called for a salary freeze for all senior political appointees across the federal government, a step that would require congressional approval."

So let's see where the party of "HELL NO WE WON'T DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES OBAMA LOOK GOOD! HELL NO!"

Posted by: knjincvc | August 3, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, $1.9 million a year. That will certainly help close the budget deficit, as Mr. Wilson notes.

How about a little context here, Mr. Wilson? What percentage of the deficit will this close? What actions did the President take today to increase the deficit? How much has Obama and the Democratic congress increased the deficit in the last week, or month, let alone this term?

What a joke.

Posted by: asdf2 | August 3, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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