President Barack Obama, as signaled earlier in the year, signed an executive order on Monday setting federal civilian and military pay rates for 2014, and including the first raise for civilian workers in four years.
Military and civilian employees will get a 1 percent raise in the new year, consistent with the level laid out in Obama's earlier budget proposal.
The order had to be signed before Jan. 1 to allow federal agencies to update their pay systems for the new year.
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Congress could have declined to authorize the increases on at least two occasions in recent months, including when lawmakers passed a two-year budget agreement earlier this month, but chose not to intervene.
Federal civilian workers have had their pay frozen for three years. Military employees have received a salary increase each year that Obama has been in office, the White House said.
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Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives, praised the move as a "modest but important step" against the background of an improving economy.