Senate rejects bill with pay freeze extension, workforce cuts

Monday - 12/5/2011, 9:05am EST

By Jolie Lee
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

The Senate voted 78-20 last week to reject a proposal that extended the federal pay freeze through 2015 and cut the federal workforce by 10 percent.

The bill — The Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act, introduced by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) — would have used the freeze and cuts to pay for a one-year extension to the payroll tax holiday.

Heller had said in a statement that his proposal was "a practical solution that borrows a cost-cutting idea from the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission and can pass Congress and be signed into law. Congress has an opportunity to do the right thing and vote for a bill that will extend the temporary payroll tax cut while preserving job growth and treating taxpayers' dollars responsibly."

But other lawmakers said the bill treated federal workers as scapegoats.

"The financial collapse and weak economy were not caused by the men and women who serve the federal government, and they should not be forced to shoulder the entire burden of the cost of recovery," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) after Heller introduced the bill.

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