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Article published February 14, 2013
House votes to extend pay freeze for fed workers
WASHINGTON — The House voted today to extend a pay freeze for federal workers, which is already in effect for more than two years, for another nine months. Republicans, who largely backed the measure, said it would save $11 billion in the long run and that economically secure public servants could go a little longer without a raise. Most Democrats, and the White House, criticized the bill as an example of anti-government bias and said Republicans, instead of debating a bill that has little chance of advancing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, should be concentrating on avoiding the pending automatic cuts to federal programs that could have a painful effect on the economy. The House measure, approved on a 261-154 vote, blocks an executive order issued by President Barack Obama last December that would give the nation’s 2 million civilian federal workers a 0.5 percent cost-of-living raise from March 27, when the current federal spending agreement expires, through the end of the year. The White House has indicated it will also include a 1 percent federal pay increase in its 2014 budget proposal. The White House opposed the House bill, saying federal workers have already done more than their part in bringing down the deficit. Obama in 2010 initiated a two-year freeze on federal COLAs as part of an effort to reduce the deficit.