WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon is bringing back to work at least 90 percent of the estimated 350,000 defense civilian employees who were furloughed in the partial government shutdown. The move takes a big bite out of the impact of the political impasse in Washington that has left the government without a budget.
The decision announced Saturday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is based on a Pentagon interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act. That measure was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama shortly before the partial government shutdown began Tuesday.
Republican lawmakers had complained in recent days that the Obama administration was slow to bring back those workers even though the law allowed it.
In a written statement explaining his action, Hagel said the Justice Department advised that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all Pentagon civilians.