Obama Gives Federal Employees Surprise Time Off: Could Cost Govt. Millions, Ruins Holiday Travel for Some

President Obama in former home and frequent vacation destination, Hawaii (AP Photo)

After not receiving a salary increase for years, federal government employees got a bonus from President Barack Obama Friday, as he issued an executive order closing all offices Monday and excusing all but postal service employees from duty on Christmas Eve. While the surprise break giving nearly all federal government employees extra time to spend with their families may at first seem fair and reasonable, the president’s spontaneous decision has cost the taxpayer and had negative side effects for Americans expecting regularly planned federal services.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the estimated cost for shutting down the government for a day is $100 million, and in making the decision last minute, CBS 5 San Francisco notes that the president has put many Americans out to dry that expected federal services Monday–like international travelers needing the passport agency in order to see family for the holidays:

Federal workers already have a paid vacation day on Tuesday December 25, but the administration moved to extend the federal holiday schedule to Monday as well after over 28,000 petitioned the president. President George W. Bush allowed a full day off for Christmas Eve in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008, each time extending the holiday to a four-day weekend.