President Obama on Tuesday issued a letter to federal employees, thanking them for their public service and promising to work with Congress to end the shutdown.

(Carolyn Kaster/AP) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

More than 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed as a result of the partial halt in government operations, which occurred because Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal on spending in time for the new fiscal year.

Obama expressed sympathy for the federal workforce, saying politicians in recent years have “treated you like a punching bag.” He noted that the employees have already had to deal with frozen pay rates and sequester cuts that required furloughs, adding that “none of this is fair to you.”

The president also encouraged federal workers not to lose heart, saying: Public service is noble. Public service is important. And by choosing public service, you carry on a proud tradition at the heart of some of this country’s greatest and most lasting achievements.”

Below is a PDF of the letter:

Message from President Obama to U.S. government employees

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