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Pay freezes and governmentwide furloughs of city workers also are on the table, although teachers are exempt because of a hard-fought contract negotiated by Interim Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson during the Rhee administration.

Long before Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, the mayor-elect, began the hearing, the council chamber was packed with social-service advocates ready to reject out of hand what Mr. Fenty deemed the “very tough but necessary decisions” to produce a balanced budget in the final weeks of his administration.

The mayor cut some of the same programs for which many of the advocates had fought during budget deliberations in May.

Lawmakers hope to have a final budget-cutting package ready for Mr. Fenty’s signature before they recess for Christmas.