Shrinking the federal workforce does not necessarily save money but it can degrade government services to the public, a report says.
The Senate on Thursday rejected a proposal to bar the government from filling vacant positions not deemed essential.
The bill would reduce the federal workforce through attrition and employees would pay more toward their retirement benefits.
Job changes by current employees and hiring under placement programs still are allowed in some circumstances.
The Navy has announced cutbacks that will affect its civilian employees and the deployment of ships, among other responses to sequestration.
The Army's general freeze on civilian hiring leaves no exceptions even for wounded veterans.