Pay freeze, funding questions answered as end of year approaches

Thursday - 12/16/2010, 1:27pm EST

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Questions about agency funding and a pay freeze were some of the top concerns of federal employees heading into the end of the year.

Those questions, among others, have now been answered.

  • Agency funding (Updated Dec. 22)
    Congress passed a continuing resolution Dec. 21 that will fund agencies through March 4, 2011. The CR keeps spending at 2010 levels.

  • Pay freeze (Updated Dec. 22)
    The continuing resolution passed by Congress on Dec. 21 included a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees, starting in 2011.

    See Federal News Radio's Pay Freeze Q&A for more details. You can also check out the exact wording of the pay freeze as it appears in the continuing resolution by clicking here (Pages 1-2, SECTION 1, SUBSECTION 147).

  • Furloughs and reduction in force (Updated Dec. 17)
    The Senate omnibus bill had protected against furloughs or a reduction in force among agencies by allocating $1.3 billion. The funding would have also been used to ensure legislatively-mandated programs continue if money ran short. However, the Senate has dropped its push to get the omnibus passed (see above).

  • Transit subsidy, social security tax cut (Updated Dec. 17)
    The House passed the $858 billion bipartisan tax package that included a continuation of the $230 monthly transit benefit. This benefit applies to all employees, including federal employees, who commute to and from work by public transportation.

    The tax package also included a two percent tax cut for those covered under social security. Federal News Radio's Mike Causey wrote that in light of a pay freeze and increased health premiums, "the 2 percent 'raise' is a big deal to lots of people."

    However, this tax break does not apply to all federal workers. Feds under the Federal Employees Retirement System would benefit from the tax break but not federal employees under the Civil Service Retirement System, who are not covered by social security.

  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Updated Dec. 22)
    On Dec. 22 President Obama signed into law the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, ending the 17-year-old policy that banned openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from serving in the military.