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Federal pay freeze passes House, likely stops there

WASHINGTON -- The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would freeze the pay of federal workers, including members of Congress and their staffs, through 2013. The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass and obtained that, 309-117.

The largely political vote was forced by Republicans to show that there is bipartisan support for the bill, which they had included in their one-year extension of the payroll tax cut extension as a way to pay for the bill. Only two Republicans voted against the bill, and 72 Democrats voted for it.

Republicans hope to use this vote as leverage to include it in a one-year extension of the payroll taxcut now being negotiated between the House and Senate.

The Senate is not expected to take up the pay freeze.

The House also overwhelmingly passed a bill that would restrict welfare funds from being used in strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores. That bill is not expected to be taken up in the Senate, either.