Federal employees may have dodged a bullet when a proposal to eliminate wage increases largely based on longevity failed to make it into the budget deal that averted a government shutdown last week,but emerging details of the agreement show that money used to pay employee salaries and other expenses would decline at certain agencies, although individual pay would not drop.

Information released Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee shows that total employee salaries and expenses in at least three federal agencies would take a hit under the agreement between President Obama and congressional leaders.

Compared to the enacted budget for fiscal year 2010, total expenditures on "salaries and expenses" for workers in the Agricultural Research Service would drop by $44 million to $1.135 billion and in Agriculture’s Rural Development Program by $10 million to $192 million. Three Justice Department agencies - the Office of Justice Programs, Office of Violence Against Women and Community Oriented Policing Services - would see a total of $26 million cut from the fy 2010 level of $192 million. Salaries and expenses for a separate item, legal activities, would fall by $10 million to $865 million. "Personnel compensation and benefits" in the Department of Housing and Urban Development programs would drop by $17 million from $979 million. 

In each case, the cuts are substantially more when compared to Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011: a $64 million cut for Agricultural Research Service salaries and expenses; $40 million in Rural Development; $92 million for the three Justice Department agencies; $111 million for “legal activities” salaries and expenses; and $50 million for HUD personnel compensation and benefits.

Additionally, there are other items that could impact salaries, such a the $13 million cut from the Transportation Security Administration headquarters and administration budget for fiscal 2010. That’s a $64 million drop from the president’s proposed budget for 2011.

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