Senate votes down federal pay freeze

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The Senate just voted 53-45 to table an amendment that would have frozen federal employees’ raises, bonuses and salary increases for one year.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to break ranks and vote to kill the measure, which was sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. But six Democrats — Evan Bayh of Indiana, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, and John Tester of Montana — voted to continue debating the amendment. Of course, that’s not necessarily the same thing as voting for it, but it does suggest Democrats may not be united in their¬†support for federal employees’ raises.

The amendment would also have imposed a hard cap on federal staffing, and required all agencies to cut one existing full-time employee for each new full-time employee hired. This section of the amendment did not allow any exceptions to the hiring freeze.

A House bill with similar provisions could come up for a vote later today.

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