CR passes House, step freeze left behind

Monday - 2/21/2011, 8:09am EST

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

As both houses of Congress head into a recess this week, federal employees may be breathing a bit easier.

The continuing resolution funding the federal government through September passed the House Saturday morning without amendments further curtailing federal pay or benefits.

Amendments proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) to eliminate step increases for federal employees were voted down. Rep. Todd Rokita's (R-Ind.) proposals to eliminate other pay raises and prevent feds from doing union activities on the job did not come up for a vote.

The Washington Post reports, other GOP proposals to trim the federal workforce by attrition and to extend President Obama's two-year pay freeze for federal workers were not offered as amendments to the spending bill.

Sen. Chuck Schumer tells CNN's "State of the Union" that lawmakers and aides are poring over the massive budget document. It proposes cutting $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs. Senate Democrats oppose the measure.

Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama oppose the House proposal. For its part, the Senate is expected to propose holding spending at current levels.

A top Republican budget writer says he knows the Senate probably won't go along with steep cuts the House just passed. But with a possible government shutdown possible in less than two weeks, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that the GOP will not agree to even a temporary funding extension that leaves current levels of spending in place.

Leaders of both parties say they are determined to avoid a shutdown. But they have not yielded on the amount of spending cuts they will demand or accept. Meanwhile, shutdown talk is rippling through Washington and beyond.

If no compromise is reached by March 4, parts of the government could shut down.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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