Bonus Christmas holiday ... Is it a go?

Friday - 11/16/2012, 2:00am EST

Things are tough all over. Good news is hard to come by. Europe has slipped back into recession. But it is time to get real, up close and personal. So...

  • Forget about the tragic events in Syria for a moment.

  • Stop worrying about sequestration. It will either happen or not, and there is nothing you can do about it anyhow.

  • How much does it really matter that a general in the midst of a war finds time to send 20,000 to 30,000 documents and emails to a friend?

  • Does who did what to whom, when and where (and on or off duty) resound with you?
  • Get the point?

    Instead, let's talk about something real. Something tangible that we all have a stake in. Something we can all get our teeth into. That of course is this: Are federal workers going to get a four-day Christmas holiday? Will the White House give feds time off on the Monday before Christmas, which this year falls on Tuesday?

    That's a big-deal, real-world concern in the metro Washington area, and in other places — like Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Ogden, Utah, which have large numbers of federal and military personnel. It would be of interest to many in Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Diego, Seattle, Denver and metro Cincinnati too.

    Merchants and restaurant owners would love it if customers — who haven't been hit with layoffs or furloughs like state and local government workers or private-sector individuals have — had a double-wide weekend to shop, eat, drink and be merry.

    So what are the odds? Pretty good, but don't bet the mortgage just yet.

    First a little history: President George W. Bush twice (in 2001 and 2007) gave feds the day off (Monday) when Christmas fell on Tuesday. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Carter gave feds the Thursday before Christmas off.

    More recently, President Obama gave feds four hours off on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 2009. In 2011, feds got the Monday (Dec. 26th) as a bonus holiday.

    So where are we now? More often than not, nonemergency feds get an extra day off if Christmas falls on a Tuesday (as it does next month) or Thursday if Christmas falls on Friday. But that is no guarantee — although it would be a nice bonus after two, going on three, years of a pay freeze.


    NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

    By Jack Moore

    An aide to President Richard Nixon tried to convince the President to stop using the term "space shuttle" because it has a "connotation of second class travel and lacks excitement." Peter Flanigan, assistant to the President for International and Economic Affairs, suggested "Space Clipper," "Pegasus" and "Starlighter," as more refined alternatives.

    (Source: Slate)


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