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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal workers were $15 billion losers as Congress looked for ways to pay for parts of the just-passed legislation to extend the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

Their advocates are crying foul, saying two consecutive years of seeing their pay frozen means the nation’s 2 million civil servants already have contributed more than $60 billion to reducing government costs. Republicans, led by their aggressive freshman class, say federal employees, with their generally secure jobs and benefits, can do more. They have proposed several bills to make that happen.

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