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Obama to freeze pay of top officials

President Barack Obama will again freeze the pay of top White House staff this year, as a gesture to Americans suffering during the worst economic crisis in generations, an official said.

Obama is expected to announce the move in his crucial State of the Union address on Wednesday night, which comes at a time when the president's political prospects are shrouded in economic gloom.

The Washington Post, which first reported the plan, said it would build upon a pay freeze introduced by the president last year for officials earning more than 100,000 dollars and senior political appointees across the government.

The report said the Obama pay freeze would also rule out bonuses for all political appointees.

News of the pay freeze comes a day after it emerged that Obama planned to propose a three-year freeze on discretionary spending starting with his 2011 budget in an effort to cut the huge government budget deficit.