House Passes Funding Measure with $61 Billion in Cuts; Amendments to Freeze Federal Step Increases, Ban Union Official Time, Fail


In the early hours of Saturday morning, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year, ending September 30th. The highly contentious legislation slashes the federal budget by a whopping $61 billion this year, impacting nearly every government agency.

The Departments of Agriculture, Housing & Urban Development, Interior, and State are each slated to see budget cuts totaling in the billions. Individual agencies such as the Forest Service, General Services Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and dozens more may take cuts ranging from the tens to hundreds of millions under the House bill.

Senate Democratic leadership, who hold the majority in Congress’ upper chamber, have pledged to oppose the bill in its current form, but have yet to offer alternative legislation as of this writing. In addition, President Obama last week issued a strongly worded Statement of Administration Policy, found here, opposing the cuts outlined in the Continuing Resolution.

In spite of the massive cuts included in the bill, several harmful amendments targeting the federal workforce were either defeated or removed from consideration. The House voted down one such amendment from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) which would have frozen merit-based step increases for the remainder of 2011. Legislators were also anticipated to consider an amendment from Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) to ban official time for union business, but the amendment never came to a vote.