Congress has approved a measure to fund the government through the end of September and avoid a government shutdown. The bill also includes an extension of the pay freeze on the federal workforce through 2013.
The Senate passed H.R. 933 on Wednesday in a 73-26 vote, and the House approved it Thursday morning in a 318-109 vote.
Under the legislation, sequestration will be continued, but a government shutdown is averted by keeping agencies funded through the end of the fiscal year. The measure replaces the current continuing resolution with a much more updated alignment of appropriations for the last six months of the fiscal year.
The House has voted previously to extend the pay freeze on the federal workforce as part of its version of a bill to fund the government.
The legislation passed by Congress Thursday overturns an executive order issued by the president late last year that ended the pay freeze on the workforce by giving a 0.5% pay increase to the federal workforce beginning in late March. It is expected that the president will sign H.R. 933, thus extending the pay freeze through the end of 2013.
Senate Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said, “This bill will continue the existing pay freeze. It’s necessary to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. Shutting down the government would make a tough situation even worse for federal employees. I want to say to my federal employees, this was a draconian choice.”
Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, was critical of the Senate passing H.R. 933, saying, “By extending the federal employee pay freeze for a third year, the House and Senate continue to use federal employees to fix a problem they didn’t create. With most federal employees required to take unpaid leave as a result of sequestration, Congress seems unable and unwilling to come up with anything more than the same short-sighted ploys that have dangerous real-world consequences for federal workers and the services on which Americans depend.”