CR Could Reduce Furloughs, Other Cuts

March 17, 2013

Congress is racing to pass a 2013 spending bill needed to avert a partial government shutdown when the current stopgap funding measure expires next week.

Assuming lawmakers succeed, the final bill is virtually certain to continue a freeze on employee pay scales through December.

Neither the House nor Senate is likely to repeal punishing across-the-board budget cuts that recently took effect, but some agencies could get increases to help buffer some of the severest effects, although the tweaks may also pose tough choices for managers.

The Defense Department, for example, is in line for a $10.4 billion boost to its operations and maintenance account, under both the House and Senate versions of the bill. Because salaries for most of DoD’s 800,000 civilian employees come out of that account, the proposed increase should lessen the need for furloughs, said Cindy Williams, a former senior Congressional Budget Office staffer.

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