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WHITE HOUSE

Obama freezes feds’ cash bonuses

President Obama on Tuesday froze any cash bonuses or similar discretionary pay boosts for political appointees, calling it a prudent example of cost-cutting at a time when many families are just trying to get by financially.

The move is expected to affect at least 2,900 people on the federal payroll and save about $1.9 million a year. Mr. Obama has also suggested a salary freeze for senior political appointees throughout the government, but that move would take the approval of Congress.

Mr. Obama spelled out his directive on the bonuses in a memo to agency and department directors. The freeze takes effect immediately and lasts through the budget year ending September 2011.

“I appreciate the hard work of our federal work force [but] … we need to make tough choices about how to spend our funds,” he said.

PENTAGON

McChrystal reporter loses embed bid

The author of the Rolling Stone article that ended the military career of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former top commander in Afghanistan, has been denied permission to join U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Defense Department spokesman Col. David Lapan told reporters that freelance writer Michael Hastings was rebuffed when he asked to accompany, or “embed with,” American forces next month.

The rejection came as the Pentagon ramped up an internal investigation into the circumstances behind some of the most salacious material Mr. Hastings used in his article in Rolling Stone.

Col. Lapan acknowledged that it’s “fairly rare” for the military to turn way a reporter who wants to embed with front-line troops, but said “a key element of an embed is having trust that the individuals are going to abide by the ground rules.”

“So in that instance the command in Afghanistan decided there wasn’t the trust requisite and denied this request.”

Mr. Hastings did not immediately reply to requests for comment Tuesday.

WHITE HOUSE

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