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Pentagon Calls Most Civilians Back to Work

October 5th 2013

Marines

The Pentagon has ordered roughly 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the worker recall in a department-wide memorandum issued Saturday.

After consulting with the Justice Department and Department of Defense legal counsel, Hagel noted furloughed employees could be brought back to the Pentagon, while still complying with federal guidelines governing the shutdown, according to the memo.

Civilian workers at DOD shown to play a role in the "morale, well-being [and]...readiness" of U.S. forces could be brought back, under federal rules, Hagel wrote. Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale is scheduled to hold a briefing on the details of the recall later today.

Lawmakers praised the Pentagon's decision to put the department's civilian workforce back on the federal pay roll. "Congress fully intended for all of our civilian defense workers to be treated the same as our active duty military members," House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said in a statement Saturday.

"All [federal employees] are vital to our national defense and need to be on the job protecting the nation," he added. Hagel's order comes hours after House lawmakers approved legislation to issue back pay to furloughed federal workers.

Members approved the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, H.R. 3223, in a 407-0 vote, with 25 members not voting. President Obama is expected to sign the measure into law, once the legislation clears the Senate.

Carlo Munoz writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.


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