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President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year federal pay freeze to aid in reducing the federal deficit.

The proposed freeze would not affect military pay, and would require congressional action to become law.

"[The freeze] would save $2 billion over the rest of this fiscal year and $28 billion in cumulative savings over the next five years," the president said in announcing the proposal.

Obama said federal employees must help bear the burden of economic sacrifices to put the federal budget back on track along with Americans in the private sector. But he acknowledged the pay freeze proposal is a decision that didn't come easily.

"This is not just a line item on a federal register," he said. "These are people's lives. They're doctors and nurses who care for our veterans, scientists who search for better treatments and cures, men and women who care for our national parks and secure our borders and our skies, Americans who see that the Social Security checks get out on time, who make sure that scholarships come through, who devote themselves to our safety."

When Obama took office in January 2009, he immediately froze salaries for senior White House officials. Earlier this year, he also proposed freezing salaries for all political appointees throughout the government, White House officials said.

Obama noted Monday that he also has proposed a three-year freeze on all nonsecurity discretionary spending, a step he said would bring that spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy in 50 years.

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