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Obama Gives Federal Workers Larger-Than-Expected Raise

The president said he reconsidered the raise — which follows a three-year pay freeze — in part due to "current and projected economic conditions"

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    Many federal employees will get a small Christmas gift from President Barack Obama.

    Obama authorized a 2.1 percent pay raise for civilian agency employees so their raise will match that of Defense Department employees. Obama said in August that these workers would get a 1.6 percent raise but opted on Thursday to boost the amount by 0.5 percent.

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    The president said he reconsidered the raise — which follows a three-year pay freeze — in part due to "current and projected economic conditions."

    "In light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan," he wrote in a letter submitted to the House and Senate and published by Federal News Radio.

    An employee making $75,000 will see a $1,575 boost before taxes.

    The nation's largest federal employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees, applauded Obama's decision.

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    “Federal employees certainly deserve this modest boost in their pay, following years of pay freezes and miniscule increases that have left them worse off today than they were at the start of the decade,” union president J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. “This pay adjustment will help employees pay their bills, reduce their debts, and cover the everyday costs facing working-class Americans.”

    The raise will take effect in January.