January 26th, 2010
11:53 PM ET
12 years ago

Administration: Obama to announce salary freezes

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will announce during his State of the Union Address on Wednesday that he's freezing the salaries of top White House officials, as well as other political appointees, senior administration officials told CNN on Tuesday.

As his administration continues to turn up the heat on Wall Street, the president also will announce that he's wiping out bonuses for all political appointees, according to the senior officials.

Fiscal discipline will be a major theme of the address, amid pressure to reign in ballooning federal spending, the officials said.

Senior officials have already said that Obama's address also will announce a freeze on all non-security federal discretionary spending for three years.

That refers to spending on an array of domestic programs - everything from agriculture to energy - that adds up to $447 billion of roughly $3.5 trillion  in the federal budget.

The freeze would not apply to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other entitlement programs.

soundoff (20 Responses)

    Dear President Obama ;

    After your visit here you know what Canada thinks of you, you know
    I have access to health care wherever I choose 24/7. You know the
    great USA raised twice as much for Haiti as Canada ( sorry I forgot
    you had 10 times as many people.) And you know that you inherited
    as president the most Unholy conglomerate of messes from the last
    8 years from those proud Americans whom were wise enough to elect bush twice. And you don't have it all fixed in a year ? Shame on
    you. How about off to a warm private sector climate with your family and give the people what they deserve; Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter,
    and Rush Limbaugh. p.s. don't forget to write........Jeff in Toronto

    January 27, 2010 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  2. Former Obama Supporter

    We hoped for change. We get a tiny hint of it after poll numbers drop. He should have made this order a year ago when he took office. There's no excuse.

    January 27, 2010 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  3. Paul Ernest show

    Its surely a good step and in the right direction, in light of the fact that the federal government is collecting less from all taxes, as many companies have simply vanished. Our export is reduced due to less demand from other countries. Some tough decision has to be made. Let's see what else the republicans will accuse him off now he seems to be up on their alley.-fiscal responsiveness. Something the could not enforce or encourage on George Bush. Now its a mess and has to be cleaned up. I just hope it does not so adversely affect the very poor.

    January 27, 2010 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  4. Dan J

    So let me get this straight: Obama campaigns on these fat cat corporations and their ridiculous salaries and bonuses. The fattest cat, the U.S. government, has gone unsupervised in this regard until now. Seems like Obama should have been cleaning up his own backyard before he goes into the neighborhood and tells other people how to do their yardwork.

    January 27, 2010 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. WrongKindofChange

    What's a freeze on their salaries going to do...they already make way too much.

    January 27, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  6. gg

    yeah, get tough Obama let the teabags take the charge in three years and do the work.

    January 27, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    Obama trying to convince Americans he knows the first thing about fiscal discipline?!?! My god, he's the antithesis! He has spent his entire time in office so far thumbing his nose up at fiscal discipline and anyone who brought that subject up. All I can say is thank you, Massachusetts voters! Because of you, Obama seems to have found a new religion. I just can't accept that he truly is a believer. It's going to take more than one speech!

    January 27, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  8. phoenix86

    Obama's spending freeze is a joke. He is going to "freeze" spending at the current deficit inducing levels that he has brought the government to.

    If he is serious eliminate the porkulus spending that has yet to be spent, and reduce federal employees by 20%. The freeze spending at 10% below the 2008 level. Get back to Bush's spending levels and let the country breath.

    January 27, 2010 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  9. billy123

    President Obama I have a suggestion how about cutting Congress pay by 75% and then they will see how the people of this country are hurting. I will also suggest that all Congressmen pay all their travel expenses out of their own pocket too.

    January 27, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. vwrtb

    Republicans probably think this is illegal. Having never missed a salary increase for themselves... Republicans are stray animals and dumber than cattle..

    January 27, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  11. Preston k

    Pkm stop every thing put a freeze on cable cos no raiseing of rent freeze on markets

    January 27, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. Nea

    Thats right President Obama! if poor people and middle class people have to suffer why not the big money makers. Now i really believe you are for the lower class and not big money makers that want to take advantage of the middle and lower class.

    January 27, 2010 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  13. Beverly in NC

    I think the best thing President Obama could do is eliminate the government-run healthcare plan for all members of Congress. They would save the taxpayer a huge amount of money and let Republicans actually live what they preach. I bet healthcare reform would suddenly become important to them if they had to live in private insurance hell with the rest of us. Most couldn't get insurance because of their pre-existing conditions! Let's also eliminate their Congressional pensions. Few Americans have pensions anymore. We have to fund our own through 401K plans. Let Congress do the same.

    Think how much money we could save and how educational it would be for republicans to see how real Americans live.

    January 27, 2010 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  14. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Just more windowdressing (just like TSA) !! If he is even remotely derious, he will have Pelosi pay back for her jaunt to Denmark. That stunt has cost the taxpayers over 1 million dollars!!!

    January 27, 2010 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  15. Ben Lichtenberg

    The man is finally waking up. I applaud his move and suggest he challenge the Legislature to do the same. Freeze congresses pay at last years level for the next three years. No unnecessary trips abroad and demand the repayment of the Copenhagen fiasco by the Pelosi Posse.

    January 27, 2010 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  16. lifelong democrat

    Salary freeze is not enough for top officials in federal goverment, reduce salary of federal workers (rank and file) for at least 2.5%; their average salary now is $75,000.00 annually; we cannot afford it plus benefits we in the private sector can only dream of.

    January 27, 2010 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  17. Sebastian

    KINGFISHER. Let us hope that this is not an initiative symptomatic of a " bully having received a beating in the streets goes home and beats his kinsmen" . There should have been some firm resolve earlier on regarding the Banks, bail out, additional stimulas and health care and in informing the American public about/ and challenging the zero sum obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress. OBAMASAN, leadership is not wholly cerebral and politeness .... it requires a strong association with reality and the need for true grit and though decisions. Take care.

    January 27, 2010 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  18. Bob Ramos

    While the symbolic gesture is appreciated, this action will see an exodus of good talented Schedule C appointees. I have lived in the Beltway area and it is very probably the most expensive area of the country to live iin. Many of these folks give up high salaries to work for public service. Many give up perks they had in "civilian life". Many send their kids to private schools because of the bad conditions in local public schools.

    Bottom line – Every dollar counts in one of the most expensive areas in the work to live in. These bonuses are not million dollar bonuses but rather in the five figures. Losing them will cost us some talented folks who were already sacrificing to serve.

    January 27, 2010 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  19. Ken in NC

    Well I guess you could say this is the straw that broke this camels back. I'm outta here. Going in search of another Democrat to put in the White House in 2012. I've come to the conclusion that my President is more willing to give up the barn on everything for the sake of being able to say, "I DID THIS". It may not be to late for him to get a spine but to late for this one vote.

    January 27, 2010 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  20. Keith in Austin

    Nothing but Smoke and Mirrors! Americans with half a brain know that Barry's sudden conservatism is nothing more than a political response to Brown's thumping of Coakly last week.

    His so called Freeze is a pittance of his overall budget and SPENDING remains out of hand.

    I trust most Americans can see right through his charade and know he is nothing more than a teleprompter-reading radical bureaucrat!

    January 27, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |