Pentagon to Recall 400,000 Furloughed Workers

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will bring most of its 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work, officials said Saturday, after concluding that it has legal authority to do so.


Invoking the Pay Our Military Act, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement that the law permits the return of workers “whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.” (Jacquelyn Martin / AFP / Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision after department lawyers said it was legal under the Pay Our Military Act, a measure passed by Congress shortly before the partial government shutdown began on Tuesday, officials said.

The move has the potential to bring back to work close to half of the approximately 800,000 federal workers furloughed last week, which could ease pressure on Congress and the White House to reach an agreement that will end the shutdown, now in its fifth day.

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