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Pentagon Ordering Most of Its 400,000 Furloughed Civilians Back to Work -- Could Reduce Pressure to End Gov't Shutdown

Workers can expect to hear from their managers starting this weekend about whether they can return to their jobs in the coming days.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Hagel warned that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order more sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress does not act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014. Credit: AP

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Pentagon is ordering most of its approximately 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work.

A senior defense official who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post said potentially 300,000 or more furloughed Pentagon employees could return to work.

All of which could actually relieve political pressure on lawmakers to end the shutdown by canceling that many furloughs, the Post adds.

The decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is based on a Pentagon legal 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.

Hagel said workers can expect to hear from their managers starting this weekend about whether they can return to their jobs in the coming days, according to the Post.

The Pentagon did not immediately say on Saturday exactly how many workers will return to work. The Defense Department said "most" were being brought back.

The Pay Our Military Act ensured that members of the military, who have remained at work throughout the shutdown, would be paid on time. It also left room for the Pentagon to keep on the job those civilians who provide support to the military.

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