WASHINGTON — The Pentagon announced Saturday that it would order almost all of its 350,000 civilian employees furloughed by the government shutdown back to work this week, a move that will restore normalcy to a vast swath of government.
Pentagon officials said more than 90 percent of its furloughed employees are expected to return to work, under a decision made by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the workers are needed to support the readiness of the military. The action, supported by members of both parties, will leave about 450,000 of the federal government's 2.1 million civilian employees on furlough.
Officials at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa could not be reached for comment Saturday regarding the status of the 1,500 civilian workers furloughed there.
Also Saturday, Congress took steps to relieve the financial concerns of workers who are facing a government shutdown with no end in sight. The Republican-led House unanimously passed a bill that would offer them full pay for the time they are not at their jobs during the shutdown.
Democrats who control the Senate said they would pass the bill early next week, and President Barack Obama has said he would sign it.