| GEO Business|
| Obama freezes bonuses for political appointees|
| Updated at: 1044 PST, Wednesday, August 04, 2010|
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama announced a freeze in bonuses for federal employees, who are political appointees, a symbolic gesture during a period of high unemployment.
Obama, who already froze salaries of senior White House officials upon taking office in January 2009, made the announcement in a memo to federal agencies.
The Office of Personnel Management "estimates a minimum of 2,900 political appointees will be affected by the freeze on discretionary awards, bonuses and similar payments," a senior administration official told foreign news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Political appointees, a category separate from the full-time bureaucracy, are hired at the discretion of the sitting US president. These positions are often changed when a new administration comes into office. Obama has described the measure as another step in the effort to shrink the massive US federal deficit.