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White House opposes House Republican bill to freeze pay for federal employees

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The White House said Wednesday night it opposes a bill by House Republicans to extend a pay freeze for federal civilian employees through the end of this year.

President Obama, who proposed on Tuesday an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour, signed an executive order in December that would lift the pay freeze beginning on March 27 unless Congress acts before then.

The president proposed the "unprecedented" civilian pay freeze in 2010 to "put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path," the White House Office of Management and Budget said. OMB said allowing a "modest" pay increase of 0.5 percent this year "will help ensure that the government remains competitive in attracting and retaining the nationˈs best and brightest individuals for public service."

The bill, introduced Jan. 15 by Rep. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican, is scheduled for a vote in the House later this week. The Democrat-controlled Senate also would have to act on the legislation before it reached Mr. Obama's desk. OMB did not say at this point whether the president's advisers would recommend a veto.

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