The Washington Post

Obama thanks federal employees for ‘patience and professionalism’ during government shutdown drama

How’s this for an inter-office memo: President Obama is thanking federal employees for the “patience and professionalism” they exhibited in the past few weeks during the down-to-the-wire federal budget negotiations.

In a letter sent Monday to federal employees across the country, Obama writes, “I know the past few weeks have been a time of uncertainty and concern for you and your families, but your patience and professionalism throughout this entire period have affirmed my confidence in you, and everyone who works in our government.”

The letter continues: “You do your jobs without complaint or much recognition. But it is men and women like you who help make America all it is, by responding to the needs of our people, and keeping our country safe and secure. And so, I want to thank you not only for your forbearance in recent weeks, but for the service you render each and every day to the United States of America.”

The White House sent the letter to departments and agencies Monday with instructions to distribute it to the rank and file, according to senior administration officials. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the letter from a federal employee Monday.

Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob J. Lew sent a similar message to each department’s deputy secretary and chief of staff, who were responsible for drafting shutdown contingency plans, including the sensitive question of which government services — and which workers — would be deemed “essential” and “nonessential.”

On Saturday, Obama thanked another group of people that would have been impacted by a shutdown — tourists — by making an unscheduled visit to the Lincoln Memorial to thank a cheering crowd of surprised visitors for staying in town despite the threatened closure of the Mall and Smithsonian museums.

RELATED: Federal Eye coverage of the government shutdown


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