An adjournment-minded Congress last night approved and sent to President Reagan the catchall spending bill needed to restore the government to normal and fund all fed- eral activities through next September.
A White House spokesman said early this morning the president would sign the measure and that federal employes should report to work as usual today.
The continuing resolution, whipped through the House without a roll call and approved by the Senate 55 to 41, is in effect the federal budget for this year. It provides no money for new jobs programs to help soften the recession; jobs money was dropped in response to a Reagan veto threat.
But it would give House members a $9,100 pay raise and allow senators to earn unlimited outside income, along with raising the pay cap for nearly 33,000 senior federal executives by 10 to 15 percent.
The resolution also would deny Reagan production funds he sought for the new MX missile -- but it gives him a record $232 billion defense budget, a 6 percent increase over last year after allowing for inflation. Details, A4.
The White House insisted all day yesterday that Reagan had not decided whether to sign the resolution. Its main reason was to keep the Congress in town and at work on his nickel-a-gallon gasoline tax increase and Caribbean Basin initiative.
Most government agencies have been technically out of money since 12:01 a.m. Saturday, when existing stopgap spending authority expired for agencies for which Congress has not passed regular funding bills.
Reagan was under great pressure to sign the resolution, in part to avoid government disruption and also because, as some members of Congress tartly warned him, the resolution was the best he could expect.
"If he vetoes, he'll get a jobs bill like he never saw before . . . and he won't get what he wants on the MX missile . . . and I'd lead the fight," said Rep. Silvio O. Conte (Mass.), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, who led the fight against the Democratic-sponsored jobs plan in the House earlier this month.
But Senate and House members had a big stake in avoiding a veto, too.
Many members conceded that the House, fearful that voters might resent the congressional pay raises, was unlikely to vote again to raise its own pay. If a second vote was required, "the pay raise would go down the drain," said Conte. "They wouldn't vote a second time, no way."
As it was, the continuing resolution, with the pay raise sandwiched into it, passed only after members denied a request from Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Calif.) for a roll-call vote. For a roll call, 44 members would have had to stand. Instead, most members sat silent and immobile, and all Dannemeyer could get was an unrecorded headcount of 232 to 54.
Even many Democrats who had argued long and loud to include $5.4 billion of public works jobs in the spending bill urged the House to swallow the bill in the interest of avoiding further disruption of the government.
Describing the bill as a victory for neither Reagan nor the Democrats, House Majority Leader James C. Wright Jr. (D-Tex.) said only the American people would lose if "in childish obstinacy, we stamp our feet and hold our breath" to avoid losing on one point or another.
But, in the Senate, where the vote was recorded and wound up considerably closer, Armed Services Committee Chairman John G. Tower (R-Tex.) opposed passage because of the MX and other defense provisions, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) condemned the exclusion of jobs money as epitomizing "the let-them-eat-cake attitude of this president."
There was "no reason for Congress to knuckle under to veto threats," said Kennedy.
The bill, which resulted from a House-Senate conferees' compromise Sunday night, provides funding for some of the government's biggest agencies -- including the Pentagon and the departments of Treasury, Justice, State, Commerce, Labor and Health and Human Services -- through Sept. 30.
This means Congress will not have to go through the turbulent ordeal of passing more stopgap funding for the rest of the 1983 fiscal year. It also means Reagan will have less leverage to squeeze down spending levels by threatening vetoes, either of individual appropriations bills or another continuing resolution.
Although most lawmakers denied that it was intended as such, the compromise amounted to a trade-off between jobs and MX, with critics of the MX and its controversial "Dense Pack" basing plan coming up the big winners.
Democrats as well as Republicans conceded that Congress eventually would have to drop the jobs money in the face of a presidential veto. But Reagan had never threatened to veto the bill on the MX issue, and MX critics capitalized on this by denying the missile production money in a bill that was otherwise crafted to be veto-proof.
In the process, the lawmakers sought to lock in their own assorted compensation increases in a way best calculated to preserve them without any risk of having to do the deed again.
Under the pay compromise approved by the conferees, House members would receive a 15 percent pay increase, raising their annual salaries from $60,662.50 to $69,800. Senators would not receive the pay increase but, instead, would be permitted to earn unlimited income from outside activities, including speechmaking, from which many senators earn rich fees.
The House originally had approved a 15 percent pay increase for senators as well as themselves, but the Senate Appropriations Committee balked and, instead, set in motion the machinery for the eventual compromise.
The pay agreement also would raise salaries for officials from the vice president and Cabinet officers down to members of the Senior Executive Service and General Service (GS) grades 15, step 7. Pay for federal executives has been frozen since 1979.
The conferees' compromise also rejected proposed curbs on authority of the Federal Trade Commission to regulate doctors and other state-licensed professionals, reduced an increase in military aid to Israel that the Senate had approved over administration objections and continued funding for several controversial public works projects, including the Clinch River breeder reactor.
In dropping the jobs money, ranging from $5.4 billion proposed by the Democratic-controlled House to $1.2 billion approved by the Republican Senate, the conferees raised the prospect that Congress would wind up its lame-duck session without any special recession relief programs -- unless $5.5 billion in highway repair work was provided from the proposed gas tax increase.
Another possibility was extension of unemployment benefits for those whose current benefits had expired, but that proposal's fate was unclear last night.
Although the administration and most Republicans declined to call the gas tax-highway repair measure a jobs bill, GOP lawmakers began arguing after the conference agreement was reached that the only remaining way to provide jobs was to pass the gas tax increase, which has been tied up for more than a week in a series of Senate filibusters.
"The president loses all his leverage when the continuing resolution is signed," House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) said at one point in the day, noting that Reagan was still pushing for the gas tax bill and legislation to provide duty-free imports from Caribbean countries.
Michel also made it clear that he opposed a veto. "It absolutely wouldn't be worth it for the president to do anything but sign this baby," said Michel.
Baker, in talking with reporters, reiterated that he would push actively for a jobs program early next year, but Michel indicated he would not support one if it took the same form as those adopted this month by the House and Senate. "It would have to take some different form than just putting people on the public job rolls," Michel said.