By LARRY MARGASAK 11/27/12 08:25 PM ET EST AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed legislation Tuesday that affords greater protection to federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations.

Obama in front of white houseCapping a 13-year effort by supporters of whistle-blower rights, the new law closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for federal whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct.

Obama also signed legislation that protects U.S. airlines from having to pay into a European Union program to cut down on pollutants. Earlier this month, the EU postponed its enforcement of the payment for non-EU airlines amid protests from numerous countries and threats of a possible trade war.

The whistle-blower law makes it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the government workers.

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