President Obama waves from the South Lawn of the White House after visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Nov. 29. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

President Obama has authorized a larger-than-expected pay increase for federal employees, just in time for the Christmas bills.

In letters to the House and Senate, Obama authorized an average pay raise for 2017 of 2.1 percent, instead of the 1.6 percent he submitted in August.

“However, in light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan for locality payments so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and varying locality payments will be 2.1 percent of basic payroll,” Obama wrote.

The military raise was included in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress this week.

The raise takes effect in January.

“When the final 2017 National Defense Authorization Act set the military raise at 2.1 percent at the end of November, the NTEU contacted key members of Congress to ask them to urge the President to change his original proposal to 2.1 percent,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. “It was our view that the federal pay raise wasn’t a done deal and could be adjusted.”

“We thank the members of Congress who listened to our views on this issue and stepped up as champions of the federal workforce,” Reardon said in a statement. “NTEU is especially grateful to House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.),” who is currently in the House.

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