2012 budget with 3-year pay freeze passes House

Republicans fire first salvo in fiscal 2012 budget battle

The House has passed a Republican-sponsored fiscal 2012 budget resolution that includes measures to freeze federal pay through 2015 and reduce the federal workforce an estimated 10 percent by 2014.

The bill (H. Con. Res. 34), which passed on April 15 by a vote of 235 – 193, would trim back the civilian federal workforce through attrition by allowing agencies to hire only one employee for every three who leave federal employment.

In addition to extending the current federal civilian pay freeze, the bill also would require feds to contribute more to the defined benefit they receive at retirement.

The bill’s supporters claim the budget, dubbed “Path to Prosperity,” will trim more than $6 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years. The author of the bill, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), called the vote “our generation’s defining moment.”

President Barack Obama has proposed a different approach, blending spending cuts with tax increases -- Ryan's budget proposal lowers top tax rates -- and Democracts have criticized the Ryan proposal's changes and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, among other provisions. The Senate has not yet taken up either propsal. However, the government could be heading toward another standoff and shutdown threat as the 2012 budget process begins in earnest.

The House adjourned shortly after the vote for a recess, and will reconvene on May 2.

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