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Obama to freeze pay of top government officials

By Ed O'Keefe

President Obama will freeze the salaries of senior White House officials and other top political appointees and eliminate bonuses for all political appointees, the White House said Tuesday. The payroll decision will likely get a mention in Wednesday's State of the Union address, officials said.

Obama last year froze the salaries of top White House officials earning more than $100,000, and this year's freeze will once again impact them and other top Executive Branch appointees, politically appointed ambassadors and political appointees serving in the Senior Executive Service -- roughly 1,200 people.

This is also the second year that Obama has declined to pay bonuses. It's unclear how much a government official would earn from a bonus or who would earn one, but the decision theoretically would affect more than 3,000 officials across the government.

"We all appreciate how hard all of these people work," White House Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients said Tuesday. "At the same time, everyone across the board has been making tough choices, streamlining what works, cutting what doesn't. Families are doing this, and now the president is asking political appointees to do the same."

The financial impact on the president's proposed budget is minimal, but will likely send a powerful message to Americans wary of government spending. The White House has already said that Obama will propose a three-year freeze on discretionary spending unrelated to national security, a decision that would save as much as $250 billion over the next decade.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 26, 2010; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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OH now he wants to freeze salaries of top government officials. That is after he raised all the salaries of his cronies. pathetic

Posted by: barbaro1 | January 26, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

While he's at it, could Obama possibly restrict White House travel of marginal value and encourage Congress to do the same?

Was it really necessary for Pelosi's entourage to spend a million dollars of taxpayer money go to the Copenhagen Climate Conference for a day or so?

Posted by: vrytix | January 26, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama is like Jim Jones in the Jones Town Guyana massacre. The debt is the poison and Obama is leading the democrats in a mass suicide pact. Pass healthcare and his huge debt, then commit political suicide together!

Everyone remembers Jim Jones. No one remembers those that followed Jim to their death.

Everyone is going to remember Obama,. Millions of US taxpayers will be his victim.

Posted by: Bill5321 | January 26, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Big deal! Pelosi still flys around in her private jet, all the congressional "fact finding" trips, Our Dear Marxist Leader's Czars, vacations, "night-out-on-the-town" trips to Chicago and New York on Air Force One, Wednesday night cocktails at the White House, the First Lady's 22 assistants. Yup, he is going to save thousands and thousands of dollars on his salary freeze, but Congre$$ will still raise the debt ceiling by another $1.9 trillion.

Posted by: rodgerdp | January 26, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Very easy for someone who has millions of dollars coming in from book sales and whose entire living expense is paid by the taxpayers. I never thought I would reach this point, but I really hope the Republicans do a better job of putting up a serious moderate candidate that is appealing to independents. Unfortunately, it looks like they're moving towards the fringe of birthers & teabaggers.

Posted by: loved1 | January 26, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Does this include his Czars???

Posted by: blackirishblonde | January 26, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

its not everything, but its a start. i didnt get a cola this year. maybe we can give their money to the veterans and their widows.

Posted by: icebluekoolaid1 | January 26, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

u have to start somewhere. as far as i'm concerned, they'll live. i didnt get a cola this year, but who do i complain to? government will just have to make due like the average citizen.

Posted by: icebluekoolaid1 | January 26, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"a three-year freeze on discretionary spending unrelated to national security, a decision that would save as much as $250 billion over the next decade"
WOW, does anyone else see the fuzzy math here?
How can it save 250B in a decade, if it's only for THREE YEARS!
And we are supposed to fall for this?

Posted by: robotech1 | January 26, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

This is a good start. Cut Congressional pay and the pay of all federal employees 10%. They have job security - government and bankruptcy lawyers are the two big growth industries created by the recession and our response to it.

Posted by: t2y123 | January 26, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Colonels and Navy Captains earn over $100,000 with this new budget--will they be capped too? (Generals already are). If so we will have in the field military leadership during wartime being paid less because they are "top officials". How ridiculous would that be?

Posted by: mil1 | January 26, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

He's freezing the pay of 1,200 federal workers?

The estimates I see on the web say there are from 1.8 - 2.7 MILLION of those. And that doesn't include postal workers or the military.

And good ol' Barack signed an executive order right after he was elected in 2008 to raise all federal workers' pay by 3.9%:

And that same article says federal workers got a further 2% raise for 2010.

So, if we wanted to have a significant impact on federal spending, wouldn't a FREEZE on the pay of ALL FEDERAL WORKERS be in order instead of that 5.9% increase?

In fact, as in private industry, when a financial crisis hits, workers' pay is often CUT across the board -- and many others (often up to 20% or more) are simply terminated.

So, at a minimum, wouldn't it make sense to CUT federal workers' pay and pension benefits by at least 10% -- across the board.

Or better yet, terminate 10% of all federal workers and cut the remaining workers' pay and pension benefits by 10%.

We need to get serious. Barack's little ploy won't affect anything. It's that symbolism that Democrats use that most Americans detest.

Let's see a REAL federal employee cost-cutting measure out of Obama.

This one won't cut it.

Throw them all out in 2010.

Posted by: RickWaters | January 26, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Dido robotech1...

Had the registration not taken forever, I would have posted that earlier.

But yes...

Saying something will last 3 years, but it will do X in 10 years is irrelevant. Unless it is suggestive for future offices to follow as a guideline.

For three years, assuming the 250 can be broken down evenly per year, should then be saving roughly 75 billion. Still a large enough number that it could stand to stand on its own two feet.

Posted by: postguy13 | January 26, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama instills no confidence as he blabbles on like a looney dictator.

He can call on Congress to reduce their's and HOUSE pay to $800.00 per week and include he and his cabinet in that request.

He cannot order any freeze without looking ridiculous.

The sooner Mr. Biden is placed, (whose history we can read and see), the sooner the Government will run Constitutionally again.

Obama does not know his arse from a hole in the ground about the US CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC of the USA.

Posted by: dottydo | January 26, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the comments that retirees (military) and those on social security received no increase - despite the cola formula is outdated and we know the prices for living increased. GSA increased per diem and living expenses - so the gov't knows costs are higher. Retired military and veterans are strapped - this is only the START.

Posted by: spike8466 | January 26, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on! Obamenoics is the shady side of business: Raise all the prices the week before,then declare a 20% discount sale!!! We "stupid tea-party moms" figured that out long ago...Hire a bunch of employees you don't need on Monday and then lay them off on Wednesday to take credit for reducing overhead!!! YeGods!!!

Posted by: vltg | January 26, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Uh...maybe this already has been addressed but how, I ask, can this sentence be correct: "The White House has already said that Obama will propose a three-year freeze on discretionary spending unrelated to national security, a decision that would save as much as $250 billion over the next decade." How can a three-year freeze be calculated to last ten years? In less than three years, Obama and his merry band of nuts will be unemployed.

Posted by: Narquan | January 26, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

OH MY! Those demos are such spend thrifts! And just in time for the 2010 election cycle. Never mind the trillions stolen before the current effort to hold down spending.
Does this mean Biden was wrong when he said 'we need to spend more to keep from going bankrupt" ?

Posted by: lel2007 | January 26, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

All governmemnt employees need to have their pay and benefits reduced by 15% and then frozen at that level until the private sector catches up. America outside the beltway is getting resentful because they've been crushed by the economy and government employess are almost totally insulated from hard times.

Posted by: hit4cycle | January 26, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop these ridiculous actions? What are we, playing house?

This is even more infuriating, irritating and patronizing than the previous inept performances from this White House that got us here in the first place by factors of 10. I cannot see any way that President Obama can muscle this entire train wreck back around to a point of congruency or palatability with America. Everything Obama does will look forced and not sincere. At least with me and I voted for him..

Posted by: spiderbyte88 | January 26, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

---RickWaters wrote: "...And good ol' Barack signed an executive order right after he was elected in 2008 to raise all federal workers' pay by 3.9%..."

Wrong. President Bush signed the FY 2009COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). It was the largest increase in 17 years.

Bush also - for those of you who have embarrassingly selective memories - was the President who began the whole buy-out debacle when he signed the TARP.

--- RickWaters wrote: "...So, at a minimum, wouldn't it make sense to CUT federal workers' pay and pension benefits by at least 10% -- across the board.
Or better yet, terminate 10% of all federal workers and cut the remaining workers' pay and pension benefits by 10%...”

Brilliant plan. Layoff yet MORE working/tax-paying people. THAT will help the economy recover.

Again: Wrong! Oh, and current federal employees contribute part of their own paychecks toward their retirement plans – like a 401(k). No pensions.

Though I do have to say that, due to the state of the economy, federal employees shouldn’t have received a COLA this year.

People scream because the over-paid Wall Street execs get obscene bonuses, yet when the President refuses to give his employees a raise and freezes their pay, they scream that it’s a stupid idea…

Totally unbelieveable.

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Posted by: sfdgerygyhjujedtgfhfg | January 26, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

While this goofy move is going to make a whole bunch of gullible Americans feel really good, its impact on the nation's financial situation is not even a fly speck. Goes to prove how financially illiterate Barack Obama is. He just wants you to feeeeeeel good, so he can go on with his insanity. The guy is not only incompetent, he is nutso.

Posted by: RightStuff | January 26, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Bear Revolt is seeking to fire them all , so the people are way out ahead of it.


The REDRESS of the 2009 Federal Government of the United States of America
By the recall of :
The Congress, (all names listed both Partys)
The Hill , ( all names listed both Partys)
The Cabinet, (all names listed)
The Czars, ( all names listed)
Barack Hussein Obama ( all "currently" known names listed: Barack Hussein Soroeto, Barack Hussein Dunham )

is seeking to empower the active troops with a clear documentation of the majority's will of the people via archival quality hardbound petitions (signatured by all men, women, and children who have No Confidence this 2009 Federal Government).

The signed petitions are being entered into County recordations offices as a "recorded document", then pooled, and placed as a" Document" into the Library of Congress by the people of each State.

The well documented majority with " no confidence" can allow the defenders of the US Constitution the ability to carry out the "will of the majority".

It seeks to void all signatures of the current Fed 2009, and hence can retro from 2010 , 2011, etc. to do it.

This Redress call was named when Pelosi went to THE BEAR REPUBLIC of California , threw imported ACORNS at their heads,
then called them astroturf and walked on their backs with her spikey heels out the door absolutely refusing to listen to them saying NO.

Posted by: dottydo | January 26, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Those in favor of cutting pay for federal employees, forget that when times are good federal employees do not get the big raises that their counterparts in the private sector get. In fact, I could be making substantially more money in private sector but choose to stay in federal service for the security and benefits (which those in the private sector could have if they unionized). I'd also like to add if you cut federal employees salary (which is lower than private sector already), the government will not be able to attract top talent. I've been in government for over a year and worked in private sector for 8. Let me tell you, I've met some really hard working people in government and seen some lazy people too, but guess what, I saw the SAME THING in the private sector.

Posted by: dkinmd | January 26, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama is so pathetically desparate...what meaningless drivel will he try next?

Posted by: JCM-51 | January 26, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Should not be a problem for the top appointees. Thye saved all that money over the years by not paying taxes.

Posted by: fsu3lhc | January 26, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

It's a start. Keep it up, President Obama.

I am conservative, and I applaud anything the president does to reign in spending.

Posted by: GPFR | January 26, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Another head-fake. The dollars saved would amount to less than a drop in the bucket. Obama really thinks the American people are a bunch of damned fools. You guys in top administrative positions live like royals while most working Americans live like serfs, especially when compared to average folks in other industrialzed nations. Who would ever invest in this country with so many selfish, confused, Ivy League jerks at the helm. Throw the bums out -- from both parties. It's the only way left that's reasonably civilized.

Posted by: ftro | January 26, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Simply another of his "representative" duties. Do something serious: propose cuts or elimination of the lifetime pensions for anyone serving as little as a day in Congress. Propose a 3% cut in Medicare reimbursements. Give working people a FICA tax holiday for six months to a year. Short of these kinds of bold moves, Obama is merely window dressing, and the results will be as profound as his shallow proposals.

Posted by: SavingGrace | January 26, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

So he is going to freeze the pay for top government officials, yet his Pay Czar approved of and defended $6 million bonuses for the CEOs of wards of the state Fannie MAE and Freddie MAC? When I was a kid $6 million bought the bionic man. Now it is bonus cash for the heads of failed institutions. These zombie organizations (Fannie and Freddie) should never have been created and cannot survive and will continue to suck the fed and treasury dry. Yet their CEOs deserve bonuses that are more than 20x the salary of any top government official? How does that make any sense?

Posted by: wmsphd | January 26, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Does this freeze apply to the $42 million in compensation packages for the 12 top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Understand that those packages were approved on Christmas Eve. Why is such extraordinary compensation being handed out to executives of these institutions that have $110 billion in losses this year and are forecast to have potential losses of over $2 trillion?

Understand that the Democrats, with Barney Frank in the lead, have a long history of supporting Fannie and Freddie but this is ridiculous!

Posted by: judithod | January 26, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

In other news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation that would require all corporations to send their entire post tax profits to the Treasury, calling the requirement the "Corporate Responsibility Fee." Questioned by reporters on the legality of this levy, and asked what section of the Constitution cedes power to Congress to pass such a law, she replied, "You're kidding, right?"

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 26, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

As the pilot of this craft, he has protected his people with a raise (a good one) before calling for a freeze.
If he is serious, he should talk about

Posted by: RayOne | January 27, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Gawrsh, that's soooo kewel! Freezing the salaries of the OhBummer Wrecking Crew! Now about those "retroactive taxes" that OhBummer wants to impose. They were one of the main issues leading to the [illegal] First American Revolution and the overthrow, defeat and routing of the surviving British occupying forces. Does Our Lord and Savior OhBummer propose to pursue this idea in the belief that the rest of us are still asleep at the wheel?

Posted by: OsamasPajamas | January 27, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I really don't care how OBAMA and the DEMOCRATS rebrand themselves.......because........

We have seen what this country would be like under a DEMOCRATIC FACIST government this past year with no checks and balances to ultimate power.......

Now with the lose of the DEMOCRATIC SUPER MAJORITY we hear the DEMOCRATS say......

"Oh.....we're sorry.....we'll be more moderate and listen to our citizens....... "




Posted by: ed357 | January 27, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

It is time to END GOVERNMENT PENSIONS. The public sector is destroying the country. Out of control spending, buying of puppet politicians, balloning underfunded pensions,corrupt pension administrator (ie CALPERS), etc. Let the government worker get a nice 401K like the rest of us. 50% of union members are now government workers. Can anyone tell me why a government worker needs a union in the first place. Overpaid, underworked, and overbenefited. Until the incestuous relationship between government unions and corrupt politicians, the taxpayer and the country will be speeding to Armageddon

Posted by: jonmurra | January 27, 2010 2:50 AM | Report abuse

He cuts back a couple million in bonuses after signing the 800 billion dollar porkulus bill. Id's say Obama is penny wise and pound foolish, or perhaps just plain foolish will do.

Posted by: rjr1 | January 27, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree that this movement by Obama is silly and ridiculous...

But most of you bozo's are clueless and ridiculous yourselves! Read what you posted for heavan's sake. You sound like a bunch of 2nd grade children in the slow department... and you all need some real counseling! Perhaps wall to wall!

This is all dog n' pony show... a real cut in spending would start with the Pentagon! Just try to account for half the money that flows thru that corrupt and ridiculous building! It's taxpayer money, but try to question anything and you'll find yourself in gitmo... without a clue or help!

Posted by: darbyohara | January 27, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

They already gave themselves a hefty raise behind closed doors,who is this joker foolin',Polose & Reid were sneaky and underhanded when they sat in on this back room deal,their Copenhagen vacation is another needle in America's eye,I can't wait to vote,AMERICA don't forget,even Acorn and new Orleans is being protected for their voting practices,REMEMBER TO VOTE AMERICA!

Posted by: bewolff_99 | January 27, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

If only Bush knew he could blamed everything on Clinton.

Posted by: Superpower | January 27, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

This so-called freeze on spending is nothing more than "smoke and mirrors" to fool the public and "show" that President Obama really "cares" about people. What a bunch of hogwash! Haven't they already received their COLAs this year, as well as their bonuses from last year? The freeze is merely symbolic. And to think that President Bush's critics called him arrogant.

Here's what I think. President Obama should start by returning what's left of the $787 billion stimulus money back to the treasury. As a gesture of goodwill to the people of this great country he could continue by cutting federal pay and personnel by 10 percent, slashing White House staff (so sorry Michelle), and top it off with a proposal to eliminate most of the 1,200 political appointees (Google "plum book"). How much do you think they cost?, not to mention all the office remodeling they do.

And while President Obama rails against the "evil bankers," what he really needs to do is work with the Congress, BOTH PARTIES, for bank reform, loosen up more credit to help small businesses, lower taxes across the board, forget about health care reform and responsibly expand Medicaid and Medicare for those who really need it, and cut ALL the GD earmarks like he promised to do.

As for Cap and Trade... are you kidding me!

Posted by: tompearlman | January 27, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Does the freeze go into effect after Plouffe's office is all set up?

Posted by: fallenstar2005 | January 27, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Duh! How funny. How about rescinding their raises passed just a few weeks ago and cutting staff by about 20%? Oh, and Michele's 22 personal assistants need to be first on the chopping block!

Obama is a clueless, delusional, hubris fraud and liar. He is destroying everything great about this country, and total driving us into economic collapse.

Posted by: magsthecat1 | January 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

President Obama should instruct Transp Secy LaHood to penalize the executives of the FAA for throwing a $5M party/orgy in Atlanta last month. There are also other executives whose salaries should be frozen, like those of the US Postal Service, another top heavy outfit. Look at the Dept of the Interior top executives' salaries. It shouldn't just be his people, there are plenty of executives left over from the Bush Admin who are doing nothing to deserve their salaries.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | January 27, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

What a pile of crap. Once again the Obamanation goes for form over substance. Read my lips - but don't believe anything I say. I lie.

Posted by: georgecooper | January 27, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

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